European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan is in the US meeting US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Discussions around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are likely to take centre stage.

Both men will be aware that agriculture issues will dominate what will be a complex negotiation process. We only have to look at the long-running Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal between the US and the Asia-Pacific region, which after 10 years currently remains bogged down in agricultural trade related issues, to see this.

With little common ground between the US science-based approach to regulation and Europe’s precautionary principle, any agreement on agriculture will require one or both parties to significantly compromise on domestic production standards.

Given the consumer focus around these key issues, it will be a difficult political ask.

We would expect that Commissioner Hogan will also raise concerns around the new US Farm Bill and how compliant the range of measures are with World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations.

Clearly the margin protection programme provides a major competitive advantage to US producers. Commissioner Hogan also has the option of raising these issues in a formal capacity with the WTO.