The shellfish farmers of Mass. could see a boost with the new US-EU deal
The European Union and the United States have agreed to resume trade in oysters, clams, mussels and scallops from late February, settling a 10-year trade dispute.
Trade in live molluscs between the EU and the US ceased in 2011 due to a split in regulatory standards.
Under the agreement announced on Friday, two EU member countries – Spain and the Netherlands – will be allowed to export shellfish to the United States, while two US states – Massachusetts and Washington – will be able to now trade with the EU.
Dan Martino, owner of Cottage City Oyster Co. on Martha’s Vineyard, sees restarting trade as a “huge opportunity.” His company grows oysters, bay scallops and seaweed products.
“I think what you’ll see are the very high-end oyster places, both in America and Europe, getting their hands on select products,” he said. “It will become, like, a very boutique thing to be able to have an American oyster in Europe, or a European oyster in America.”
Martino pointed out that the oyster species that thrive in each climate are different: Belan oysters from Europe, for example, would be exotic to American consumers.
“What it really is is a chance to introduce a new species of oyster to whole new markets, whether it’s bringing the European material here or shipping the American material there- down,” he said. “So it’s an exciting time, you know, for oyster consumers to be able to try something new.”
The European Union has also scrapped EU tariffs on American lobsters – caught mainly in the Atlantic off New England – in return for lower US duties on European exports of ceramics to prepared meals with an annual value of 200 million dollars.
Both parties hailed the deal as another positive step in their trade relationship since US President Joe Biden took over from Donald Trump.
“I warmly welcome this agreement, which solves a long-standing problem for which we have worked hard,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Trade.
“Since the EU-US summit in June 2021, we have made several advances: anchoring the Airbus–Boeing dispute, throwing the Board of Trade and Technology and pause our steel and aluminum trade disputesaid Dombrovskis. “All of these accomplishments, along with this latest resumption of the bivalve shellfish trade, are helping to create sustainable economic growth and jobs for our workers.
In addition to Spain and the Netherlands, the EU said other member countries could join the agreement and be allowed to export molluscs to the United States under a simplified authorization procedure. .
“This is good news for food operators and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Stella Kyriakides, European Commission Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. said in a statement on Friday. “I look forward to extending this opportunity to more EU Member States in the near future.”
The United States is the EU’s largest trading and investment partner.