March 27,2001

Grassley Comments on Progress by WTO Agriculture Committee

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance,issued the following comment regarding approval of a work plan today by the World TradeOrganization Agriculture Committee in Geneva.

"Today, the WTO approved a reform-oriented work plan aimed at ending the high tariffs,trade-distorting support, and excessive export subsidies that many countries use to stifle competitionin world agricultural markets. I’m very pleased with this achievement in Geneva because it meansthat the effort to liberalize world agricultural trade will move forward. It’s a significantdevelopment. Some countries questioned whether we needed to move forward with ag tradeliberalization at all. In the end, 140 member countries supported the initiative. As a result, theagenda for the Geneva-based talks will include very important items for farmers and agriculturalproducers.

“Today’s development also shows that American leadership in world trade matters whetherit’s in these talks on agriculture and services or the negotiations for the Free Trade Area of theAmericas. Sometime this year Congress will decide whether or not to renew the President's tradenegotiating authority. The decision will be to move forward and open new markets for America’sfarmers, entrepreneurs and service providers or to take a back seat to our competitors. I’ll do all Ican to see that we continue to move forward.”