Lighthizer defends U.S. Ag in WTO Meeting

Dan Grain, Industry News Release, Trade

lighthizerU.S. Wheat Associates publicly thanked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for his work defending U.S. agriculture against attempts to weaken the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on domestic support in agriculture.

The Wheat Associates organization says the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial Conference would be a failure and the mission of the WTO to advance trade would be negatively affected through a proposed permanent exemption for market price supports for certain major ag producers. India and other countries have tried to create an ongoing loophole for certain types of price support programs that are associated with state-run stockpiling programs. Those types of price supports can be very distorting to trade, which violates WTO rules and the spirit of trade liberalization that the organization is supposed to represent. Domestic support programs are what the U.S. calls a “non-starter” without market access liberalization.

U.S. Wheat Associates wants to make clear it doesn’t object to countries holding public stocks for food security, which is critical for all countries. Public stockholding has always been an option in the Agreement on Agriculture’s “Green Box” of non-trade distorting support.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.