Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
Committee Meets with Trade Ambassador and Ag Secretary
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Members of the House Committee on Agriculture today met with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Ambassador Susan Schwab, U.S. Trade Representative, to discuss the status of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations of the Doha Development Round. It was the Committee’s first meeting with Ambassador Schwab since her confirmation in early June. Chairman Goodlatte issued the following statement after the Committee’s meeting with Secretary Johanns and Ambassador Schwab:
“Our meeting today with Ambassador Schwab and Secretary Johanns gave us the opportunity to hear first-hand about the most recent Ministerial meeting in Geneva. The Doha negotiations are at a critical stage and without some sort of movement soon, the chances of reaching an agreement before the President’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expires grows slimmer with each passing week.
“As I have said in the past, the U.S. has proposed an ambitious and forthcoming proposal and no other country has introduced a proposal that even comes close to the U.S. proposal. We’ve been accused of being obstinate and solely blamed for the currently stalled status of the negotiations. I find it curious that the very same WTO member countries that are so quick to point fingers are so quiet when asked what action they will take to move things forward. The U.S. has taken a significant step forward but without movement from other WTO members, we will remain at a standstill.
“The Ambassador and Secretary were receptive to the Committee’s position and we made clear that while we want to see greater market access, we are not willing to make further concessions or agree to a bad deal just for the sake of finalizing the Doha round.”