U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab’s insistence, during the World Trade Organization negotiations in Geneva that ended in deadlock, that U.S. offers to reduce certain U.S. farm support programs be met with corresponding increases in foreign market access for U.S. agriculture was right for America, USA Rice Federation officials said today.
“Half of the U.S. rice crop is destined for foreign markets, and if rice producers are asked to concede ground and increase their risk, foreign markets currently restricted to the United States must be opened,” said Michael Rue, a California rice producer and vice chairman of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee. “We are looking for nothing less than fair trade,” Rue said. “USA Rice is thankful for the hard work by Ambassador Schwab, and we look forward to her continuing leadership as the negotiating process evolves.”
“It is important for the United States to stand its ground for parity in trade relations and against unrelenting calls by some advanced developing countries for continued U.S. concession in agricultural and non-agricultural trade,” USA Rice Senior VP Bob Cummings said.
“We are disappointed that trade ministers did not reach agreement on a framework for moving the Doha Round negotiations forward, but advanced developing nations must begin to take seriously their WTO roles. Fair trade is not a one-sided endeavor,” Cummings said.
Rue and Cummings were in Geneva during the latest series of WTO trade negotiations.