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US farm bill could hurt VN fish breeding

Update: February, 06/2014 - 09:44
Accordingly, Vietnamese catfish exported to the US market will need to fulfill all requirements set for local products, from production to packaging and exporting.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)  — The US Senate gave final approval on February 4 of a five-year farm bill that could harm Vietnamese exports of tra and basa fish.

According to the bill, the inspection of catfish, including Vietnamese tra and basa fish, will be moved from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Department of Agriculture.

Accordingly, Vietnamese catfish exported to the US market will need to fulfill all requirements set for local products, from production to packaging and exporting.

However, Senator John McCain called the provision, which was proposed by the US Catfish Association and southern lawmakers, a trade barrier that aims to protect the interests of US catfish breeders.

Along with catfish, the bill also requires beef, lamb and poultry producers, among others, to stamp their products with the country of origin.

The Congressional Budget Office says the US$956 billion legislation will save $16.6 billion over 10 years, compared to current funding. Using a different scoring, Congressional leaders put the savings at $23 billion.

About US$8 billion in savings over a 10 year period comes from cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme, commonly known as food stamps, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of the bill's spending. The programme provides funds to about 47 million low-income Americans to purchase food.

The Senate voted 68-32 to pass the sweeping bill, which was also passed by the House of Representatives with 217 votes in favour and 210 against. The White House said President Barack Obama would sign the bill. — VNS

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