October 10,2005

Baucus Says U.S. Agriculture Offer Must Be Met By Stronger Commitments From U.S. Trading Partners

Senator Stresses Congress’s Role in Farm Policy

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Senator Max Baucus, ranking Democrat on the Senate FinanceCommittee, today issued the following statement in response to the announcement byAmbassador Rob Portman, United States Trade Representative, concerning the U.S. conditionaloffer in the World Trade Organization (WTO) agriculture negotiations:

“The U.S. offer today is an important step in attempting to unblock the WTO agriculture talks,which have remained stalled for far too long.

“However, today’s offer represents a level of ambition unmatched by our trading partners,including in the developing world, where tariffs and supports remain far higher than our own.India’s average allowed agriculture tariff is 114 percent. Korea’s is 66 percent. Japan’s is 51percent. And the European Union, whose allowable domestic supports are over 4 times greaterthan our own, also maintains an unacceptably high average tariff of 31 percent.

“Our farmers cannot be asked to reduce support payments unless the EU, Japan, India, and othersin the developed and developing world make deep cuts to agriculture tariffs and, whereapplicable, domestic supports.

“I urge the Administration to consult closely with Congress in developing proposals in the WTOnegotiations that affect U.S. farm programs. It is the Congress in Washington – not the world’strade negotiators in Geneva – that will write the Farm Bill in 2007. Domestic priorities, not theDoha Round, will determine how we move forward in the United States on agriculture.”