US farm groups have warned the Bush administration
against compromising on farmers'' interests as trade
negotiators push intensely to broker a new world trade
deal under the Doha Round.
warning came even as the European Union and the United
States tried to pave the way for a breakthrough in global
trade talks nearing a potentially make-or-break phase.
trade and farm commissioners Peter Mandelson and Mariann
Fischer Boel met US trade representative Susan Schwab
and agriculture secretary Mike Johanns in Brussels for
preparatory talks ahead of a meeting among key WTO members
- the EU, US, Brazil and India - in mid-June.
in, and limitations on, US domestic support can only
be justified if they yield an important net gain for
American farmers and ranchers," a coalition of
13 farm groups said in a letter to US trade representative
farm groups, whose members receive billions of dollars
in subsidies from the US agriculture department, see
net gains in the WTO''s Doha round only if other countries
commit to lowering tariffs and shelving policies that
US, the EU, India and Brazil are now intensifying efforts
to reach a deal by year''s end. If the deadline is not
met, some observers warn, the talks could drift for
negotiations have been characterised by escalating demands
for significant new US concessions on domestic support
while our trading partners in both developed and developing
countries have clung tenaciously to positions,"
the letter continued.
deal that fails to gain access to new markets would
be an "unacceptable result," the farm groups
missive was signed by associations representing US soybean,
corn, sugar, cotton, milk, wheat and other industries.
month''s meeting, scheduled for June 19-22, is seen as
decisive for the fate of the WTO''s Doha round of free
round was launched in 2001 to boost the world economy
and help poor countries in reduce poverty by exporting
the talks have missed several deadlines. If the G4 can
reconcile their differences over cutting barriers to
farm and manufactured goods trade, that could allow
a wider deal involving the WTO''s full 150 member countries