STATEMENT - On The U.S. Proposal For WTO Agricultural Negotiations
Reacting to the latest agricultural proposal by the USTR, as outlined on its web site, NCC Chairman Woods Eastland said that “the proposals represent a very aggressive stance by the United States in the Doha Negotiations and would require significant cuts in U.S. farm programs if agreed to by the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the U.S. Congress.”
Reacting to the latest agricultural proposal by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) as outlined on its web site, National Cotton Council Chairman Woods Eastland said that “the proposals represent a very aggressive stance by the United States in the Doha Negotiations and would require significant cuts in U.S. farm programs if agreed to by the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the U.S. Congress.”
“The scope of the U.S. domestic support proposal would likely bring comprehensive change for most developed countries, including U.S. agriculture. There must be corresponding gains in market access, particularly changes in market access to China. The troubling aspect for the U.S. cotton industry is that China - the world’s largest cotton market - continues to seek special treatment in the WTO so it can avoid market access concessions. On a broader scale, we can not allow countries with highly competitive agricultural products and value-added goods in export markets to avoid making concessions simply based on their self-declaration as a developing country.”
Eastland commended the U.S. negotiators for including a provision protecting compliant programs from litigation.
“The U.S. proposal contains a provision that will protect countries from litigation in the WTO if they keep their trade-distorting support below agreed levels,” Eastland said. “This is an extremely important and critical component of the U.S. proposal.”
Eastland also emphasized that, “It will be vital that we maintain the integrity of the current farm law as we analyze potential mechanisms that would enable us to comply with new obligations stemming from any eventual agreement. Longer term, due to the unpredictable nature of agricultural production and the inherent volatility in commodity prices, it is imperative that any agreement provides Congress an opportunity to maintain a program that provides an effective safety net for U.S. producers.”