In an open letter to US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, the Food Trade Alliance, a group of major food processors, distributors and suppliers, has called for the Doha round talks at the World Trade Organisation to secure increased market access that would "allow the member companies of the Food Trade Alliance to grow their businesses, help the US economy, and better serve our customers around the world."

Of the problems created by trade restrictions, Bill Ehrig, chairman of the FTA, wrote: "Government economic restrictions tie up our members' logistics in a web of red tape, impose high tariffs and other regulations that add no value, and do not serve the interests of either business or the world's consumers."

The liberalisation of trade rules governing the movement of agricultural produce would necessarily extend to processed foods containing those raw materials, the FTA suggested. "For the Food Trade Alliance, an acceptable Doha agreement must include meaningful market access commitments for essential raw materials such as sugar, dairy, seafood, poultry, beef and potatoes as well as processed foods containing these items," the letter continued.

"The benefits of these changes would obviously help our members... elimination of barriers would allow our member companies to move products to new countries and to new outlets in countries where they already do business. This will create opportunities for US and global suppliers."