Farm groups urge administration to be firm on WTO issues |

Farm groups urge administration to be firm on WTO issues

The Biden Administration should try to get the public stockholding and special safeguard mechanism proposals at the World Trade Organization eliminated in connection with the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), a coalition of farm groups have written U.S. Trade Representative Katharine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

In a letter sent last Friday, the groups wrote, “We are pleased to see recent statements from Ambassador Tai regarding the administration’s desire to engage comprehensively and boldly at the WTO, and we hope that MC12 provides an opportunity for the United States to take a significant step towards achieving its policy goals and working to reduce agricultural protectionism.”

But they added, “One significant obstacle is the legacy issues that have become so prominent on the WTO agriculture agenda in the run-up to MC12 — especially the proposals related to public stockholding (PSH) and the special safeguard mechanism (SSM).”

“These proposals are remnants of a negotiation that is now decades old, and each represents a significant step in the wrong direction. The PSH proposal would significantly weaken disciplines on domestic subsidies, while the SSM proposal would seriously impair access to markets for U.S. exports in developing countries. Adoption of either proposal would point the reform process in the wrong direction and doom future negotiations to failure.”

The coalition includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, crop, meat and export groups. Its adviser is Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, a former agriculture official at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


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