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NPPC discusses WTO agriculture negotiations with top U.S trade negotiator

by 5m Editor
12 August 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - With an eye toward the pivotal WTO trade ministerial on September 10, in Cancun, Mexico, NPPC President Jon Caspers today met the U.S. Trade Representative to highlight some of the key trade challenges facing U.S. pork producers.

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In remarks made during a roundtable discussion for Iowa farmers held in West Des Moines, Iowa, Caspers, a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa, focused on the importance of both enforcing existing trade agreements and negotiating new trade agreements. He told the officials that "while the new opportunities provided by the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are warmly welcomed, that agreement is not enough to stem the tide of significant economic losses expected later this year due to factors beyond the control of U.S. pork producers."

With respect to existing agreements, Caspers took aim at Mexico which he said has "illegally initiated an antidumping investigation that makes a mockery of the WTO Antidumping Code." He called on both officials "to do everything possible to get Mexico to drop its illegal case and keep U.S. pork exports moving to Mexico."

Caspers also expressed concern about the rising tide of Canadian hog imports and asked both officials for help in making sure that Canada is abiding by its trade commitments. He said that "while Canada is quick to criticize U.S. farm programs as unfairly impacting its farmers, Canada fails to acknowledge the impact that its farm programs may have on U.S. farmers."

Caspers underscored the importance of the Doha Round stating "while we have seen a spectacular increase in our exports since the Uruguay Round tariff reductions, average global tariffs on pork remain a whopping 77 percent. The sooner an agreement on the modalities is reached, the sooner the round will conclude and the sooner our producers will be able to harvest incredible new sales opportunities."

Caspers also stated that while the WTO agriculture negotiation offers the single largest export generating opportunity for our producers, pork producers also support the negotiation of bilateral and regional trade agreements. However, pork producers are very concerned about the status of pork with both Australia and the Central American countries. Any FTA which does not provide significant and meaningful market access for U.S. agriculture should be considered dead on arrival in Congress," he said.

Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) - 11th August 2003

5m Editor