September 11,2003

Grassley on the Outlook for Agricultural Reforms in Trade Talks


To: Reporters and editors
Re: comment on trade talks in Cancun
Da: Thursday, Sept. 11, 2003

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, with jurisdiction overinternational trade, made the following comment on the progress of trade talks in Cancun.

“I’m disappointed by the position of many of the countries in the so-called G-21. Thesenations, many of which have widely divergent economic goals for their individual nations, seekadditional cuts in domestic subsidies but many of them are unwilling to open their own agriculturalmarkets.

“Since the start of these negotiations, the United States has clearly indicated a willingnessto eliminate domestic subsidies for agriculture. But success at Cancun is a shared responsibility.It can’t be a one-way street whereby the United States agrees to eliminate subsidies but the rest ofthe world does nothing. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction overtrade policy in the U.S. Senate, I won’t support such a result. We need to see substantial marketaccess for our agricultural products and commitments from other nations, especially the EuropeanUnion and Brazil, to eliminate agricultural subsidies as well.

“What I find most disturbing is that some of the nations that have aligned themselves withthe G-21 position, such as Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Morocco, Thailand, Egypt,Guatemala, and South Africa, are seeking to deepen their relationship with the United States throughthe negotiation of free trade agreements, but are resisting opening their own markets in agriculturaltrade. This makes me question their commitment to free trade and their interest in pursuing thestrong market access commitments required to conclude free trade agreements with the United States.”