October 15,1999

Roth, Moynihan Meet with European Trade Commissioner

WASHINGTON --Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) and Ranking Democratic Member Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) met with European Commissioner for Trade, Pascal Lamy Thursday evening.

Roth called the meeting to express his concern about the state of trade relations between Europe and the U.S. The Chairman urged that disagreements on beef, bananas, and airline noise be cleared up before the WTO Ministerial.

Roth released the following statement after the meeting:

"Europe and the United States should be collaborating in advance on the agenda for the upcoming WTO ministerial. Instead, we are mired in a series of disputes over everything from airplane noise--to beef--to bananas.

"We need to clear up these disputes in order to maintain political support in the United States for trade. We are facing rising protectionism in both parties and in the U.S. public. It is difficult to persuade the American public and members of Congress to support the cause of trade in the absence of concrete progress on the issues that divide the U.S. and Europe. That is why Senator Moynihan and I met with Commissioner Lamy today. We made several key points in our meeting with him.

"As far as the WTO agenda is concerned, we told him that we particularly need to see substantial reductions in agricultural subsidies and other barriers to farm trade. Progress on agriculture is essential to the political viability of any eventual agreement in Congress.

"There are a number of individual issues that need to be addressed before we get to Seattle. In today's meeting we urged Commissioner Lamy that we need to see Europe's compliance with WTO panel decisions on bananas and beef. I told him that we are interested in market access for our goods, not retaliation against European products. Retaliation helps no one.

Roth also expressed concern over the European Union rules on aircraft noise abatement. Roth told the Commissioner that the EU's rules on noise abatement have become a serious irritant in our trade relations that needs to be removed.

"I hope to meet again with the Commissioner in Seattle to review what progress we have made on some of these points and what progress we have made toward the launch of a new round."