July 29,2008

Baucus Urges Schwab to Hold Firm for American Farmers and Ranchers

More market access needed to gain congressional support for Doha Round

Washington, DC – Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today urged U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to resist pressure to reach an agreement in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks that does not provide meaningful market access for U.S. exporters. Senator Baucus is increasingly concerned that the talks are heading in the wrong direction, especially as India and China insist on creating new, higher tariffs on American agricultural products.

"The United States should not agree to any deal that does not significantly open markets for U.S. exporters, including farmers and ranchers in my home state of Montana. No deal is better than a bad deal and I applaud Ambassador Schwab for holding the line. It is imperative that she continue to hold firm," Baucus said. "The Doha Round was launched to create new trading opportunities for both developed and developing countries, not to allow some countries to move backward and completely shield their markets."

Certain advanced developing countries – notably China and India – are seeking to use the "Special Safeguard Mechanism" to erect higher barriers to agriculture trade than currently exist. Talks to liberalize trade in non-agricultural products, or "NAMA," also remain stalled over the failure of key countries to reduce tariffs in sectors of interest to U.S. exporters.

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