September 8, 2003: On the eve of crucial world
trade talks, a coalition of U.S. farm groups said today
that their ultimate support of any new trade agreement
will depend on the degree to which they can measure meaningful
reform in the areas of market access, export competition
and domestic support.
Ag groups' core objectives:
• Greatly improved market access.
• Peak tariffs that are capped and
reduced over time.
• Substantial improvements in the
area of market access.
• Domestic support disciplines applied
consistently to both developed and developing
countries that are major agricultural exporters.
• No exemptions for net-food-exporting
countries from subsidy disciplines applied
to developed countries.
• Requiring countries with higher
levels of trade-distorting subsidies to
make larger reductions in those programs.
• No limits or caps for non-trade-distorting
(green box) expenditures.
• The timely elimination of export
subsidies and similar trade-distorting policies,
such as state trading enterprises.
• The tenure for loan repayment under
the U.S. export credit guarantee program
must be sufficient to maintain participation
by developing-country importers.
• And, U.S. food aid programs must
be able to continue providing U.S. agricultural
commodities and products to food-deficit
During a joint news conference, the groups told reporters
they expect compromise, but progress on those "three
pillars of agricultural trade" is essential.
American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob
Stallman told reporters that U.S. agriculture's support
would depend on whether specific objectives are achieved
within and between the areas of market access, export
competition and domestic support.
Other groups in attendance, or signing on to a joint
statement, included the American Soybean Association,
the American Sugar Alliance, the National Association
of Wheat Growers, the National Barley Growers Association,
the National Corn Growers Association, the National
Cotton Council, the National Milk Producers Federation,
the National Sunflower Association, the U.S. Canola
Association, the USA Rice Federation, the Wheat Export
Trade Education Committee and the National Grain Sorghum
"The degree to which U.S. agricultural producers
will support reductions in trade-distorting domestic
support and greater openness in our markets depends
on the degree to which tariffs are harmonized and trade-distorting
policies are disciplined in their markets. By that,
I mean in the markets of both developed and developing
countries," Stallman told reporters.
Additionally, Stallman said America's farmers and ranchers
would support reductions in trade-distorting domestic
supports only if "developing countries that are
major agricultural exporters agree to accept similar
"The elimination of export subsidies by trade
entities such as the European Union continues to be
a critical element of any final agreement," Stallman
said. "Progress must be made in all three of these
negotiation pillars for open and fair market conditions
to prevail in the world."