/javascript" src="../static/js/analytics.js"> CalTrade Report - Washington Disappointed, Encouraged by Ag Negotiations California, CalTrade Report, agriculture, World Trade organization, U.S. Trade Representative - Washington Disappointed, Encouraged by Ag Negotiations - USTR Portman will return to Geneva this week for further negotiations CalTrade Report Asia Quake Victims WASHINGTON, DC – 10/21/05 – The US is ''disappointed'' with the negative responses of the European Union and the G-20 group of developing countries to its proposal to reduce the allowed level of the most trade-distorting US agricultural domestic subsidies from $19.1 billion to $7.6 billion a year; but, says US Trade Representative Rob Portman, with less than nine weeks to go before the December WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, is ''encouraged'' that the proposal has at least triggered other participants to make detailed offers. - WASHINGTON, DC – 10/21/05 – The US is ''disappointed'' with the negative responses of the European Union and the G-20 group of developing countries to its proposal to reduce the allowed level of the most trade-distorting US agricultural domestic subsidies from $19.1 billion to $7.6 billion a year; but, says US Trade Representative Rob Portman, with less than nine weeks to go before the December WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, is ''encouraged'' that the proposal has at least triggered other participants to make detailed offers. - Washington Disappointed, Encouraged by Ag Negotiations California, CalTrade Report, agriculture, World Trade organization, U.S. Trade Representative - Washington Disappointed, Encouraged by Ag Negotiations

 

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

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Washington Disappointed, Encouraged by Ag Negotiations

USTR Portman will return to Geneva this week for further negotiations

WASHINGTON, DC - 10/21/05 - US Trade Representative Rob Portman says he remains "discouraged" with what he views as inadequate responses to the US agriculture proposal in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations

But, he says he is "encouraged" that the proposal has at least triggered other participants to make detailed offers.

Less than nine weeks before a crucial December WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, Portman said in a recent teleconference that he was encouraged that WTO participants were finally talking about specific numbers for cutting agricultural tariffs in the negotiations, formally called the Doha Development Agenda.

He said, however, that the market-access offers made by the European Union (EU) and a group of developing countries (G-20) fell far short of expectations.
 
The October US proposal would reduce the allowed level of the most trade-distorting US agricultural domestic subsidies by 60% from $19.1 billion to $7.6 billion a year.

Portman said current US spending in this category, called the "amber box" by the WTO, would amount to $14 billion or more in the current year.

"We did more than was asked of us" by trading partners, Portman said.

In exchange for reducing domestic support, the US demanded substantial tariff cuts by other countries.  Portman criticized the EU proposal that followed, which he said would amount to an average tariff reduction of only 24.5%, less even than the 36% cut in the 1994 agreement from the Uruguay Round of negotiations.

The EU proposal triggered protests from some EU member states, who called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for October 18 to make sure EU negotiators do not exceed their mandate.

Portman said he believed the EU delegation would negotiate in good faith and would meet the expectations for a good market access proposal in response to the US domestic support proposal.

"This is what the Europeans asked us to do in exchange for market access," Portman said.  "For them to go back on their part of the deal at this point, I think, is not something that would be in their interest or in the interest of Doha."

Besides, he said, the EU stands to gain from other parts of the negotiations on industrial tariffs, services and development - none of which can succeed without an agreement on agriculture.

The G-20 proposal likewise fell short of the level of ambition expected, he said, cutting only from each country's highest allowed level of tariffs, called bound tariff rates, not from the tariff rates actually applied.

"On market access the G-20 proposal expects too little from the developed countries like the United States and the EU and very little from developing countries," Portman said.  "Frankly, it lets developing countries that are emerging economies off the hook."

Portman said he was headed back to Geneva for October 19-20 meetings on the agricultural negotiations. The December 13-18 Hong Kong ministerial aims to set the framework for completing the Doha negotiations by the end of 2006.

"There's a lot at stake, and the clock is ticking," Portman said.  "Again, we made some progress this week, and the United States has made a strong offer.  We await a meaningful response."

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