Farm groups thanked U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer for his efforts to defend U.S. agriculture against attempts to weaken the World Trade Organization rules on domestic support in agriculture. Ben Conner, Director of Policy with U.S. Wheat’s Associates, attended the Buenos Aires Ministerial. He says at the meeting India and other countries attempted to create a permanent loophole for certain types of price support programs associated with state-run stockpiling programs.
He says these types of price supports can be highly trade distorting as they pressure wheat prices. Plus, they violate WTO rules.
Conner says domestic support negotiations are a non-starter for U.S. agriculture without market access. As a result, Lighthizer pushed back against a permanent exemption and essentially walked away from the talks.
Conner says these countries are undermining the WTO by holding the entire trade negotiating system hostage to demands to weaken commitments on agriculture.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.