July 22,2008

Grassley: Trade Talks Are No Laughing Matter, U.S. Offer on Farm Subsidies is Serious, Should be Treated as Such


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: World Trade Organization talks in Geneva
Da: Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with jurisdiction overinternational trade, and a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, made the following comment on the United States’ effort to kick-start efforts to rescue a global trade deal on Tuesday by offering to cut a ceiling on its contested farm subsidies, and the reaction from leading developing countries that it was not enough.

“Ambassador Schwab put forth a major proposal to kick-start these negotiations into highgear, offering to reduce our allowable support from $48 billion down to $15 billion. But accordingto one press report, India’s response is that it doesn’t pass the ‘laugh test.’ I have yet to see Indiamake a constructive proposal that will actually advance these negotiations. This is not a laughingmatter. We all stand to gain from increased trade. But to achieve that, we need to see meaningfulreductions in tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade — from all sides. If India is going to stand in theway of opening up new trade flows, the negotiators might as well pack up and head home early.”