Trade representative stresses market-opening efforts

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab emphasized the important role agriculture plays in a successful trade agenda during her keynote address March 2 at the Commodity Classic General Session.

During her address she said the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to hold firm on market-opening efforts in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

“It was a great opportunity for our attendees to hear from the U.S. Trade Representative on free trade agreement negotiations and on the Doha Round World Trade Organization negotiations,” said Ken McCauley, NCGA president. “We were happy to hear strong support from the administration for agriculture as it continues its aggressive trade agenda negotiations.

“Good trade agreements give our corn growers new markets, new opportunities for their value-added products and stimulate the U.S. economy.”

NCGA understands agriculture must take some concessions, however, growers will not support an agreement without significant market access for our products, McCauley said.

“Corn growers need to be able to reach the global market place in a fair and balanced way and that means significant market access. We must be able to increase our opportunities both nationally and internationally,” he said.

In her address Schwab told corn and soybean growers the United States is prepared to walk away from the talks if the deal “requires sacrifices and concessions from American farmers and ranchers without creating significant new export opportunities around the globe.”

Schwab added the Doha offer is not the basis for a new farm bill.

“The farm bill proposal is not a new Doha offer and the Doha offer made 15 months ago is not the basis for the new farm bill,” she said.

“Congress will write the farm bill. When it does, we hope lawmakers embrace a more market-oriented approach to farm policy. That means a farm policy that is predictable and strikes the right balance between providing farmers and ranchers with a safety net and not distorting the market. It also means a farm bill that can withstand a challenge at the WTO.”

“The Doha agreement is not our farm bill and corn growers will continue to strongly support the U.S. negotiators stance for Doha as a means of balancing the global playing field,” McCauley said.

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