The American Soybean Association (ASA) has communicated to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk its priorities for restarting World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda on a foundation that offers an improved opportunity for a successful outcome for U.S. farmers.
"In our view, a successful agreement must include significant improvements in market access, greater commitments by developing countries with world-class agricultural exporting sectors, and elimination of Differential Export Taxes," said ASA President Johnny Dodson, a soybean producer from Halls, Tenn.
"Unfortunately, the current drafts on the table contain so many loopholes and exemptions, U.S. producers would receive little in market access gains while having to give up a great deal in the area of domestic support," Dodson said. "ASA and other agriculture producer organizations have repeatedly emphasized the need for a big outcome on market access, commensurate with the concessions U.S. agriculture is being asked to make on domestic support."
For ASA, a positive outcome in the Round will depend, in large measure, on acceptance by advanced developing countries of meaningful tariff reductions and limits on other modalities that could significantly restrict market access for agricultural imports, including soybeans and soybean and livestock products. In addition, developing countries with world-class agricultural export sectors must agree to disciplines on their domestic support programs and export subsidy practices, comparable to those accepted by developed exporting countries, including the elimination of Differential Export Taxes (DETs).
ASA and the National Oilseed Processors Association have been outspoken advocates for eliminating DETs through which Argentina, Malaysia, and other countries subsidize exports of oilseed products, including soybean meal, soybean oil, and biodiesel.
"This practice of taxing exports of a whole commodity, and particularly soybeans, at a higher rate than its processed products, clearly represents a significant export subsidy to the domestic processing industry, and it must be eliminated in any final Doha agreement," Dodson said.
ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.