Committee Reviews International Price Differentials in Agricultural Inputs

Jun 29, 2000

Committee Reviews International Price Differentials in Agricultural Inputs

(June 29, 2000)

Washington, DC — Today, Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) convened the House Committee on Agriculture to review factors affecting the pricing of domestic and foreign agricultural inputs, using the specific examples of pesticides and biotech seeds.

"Throughout the last several months, Congressman Stenholm and I have been taking the Committee around the country to hear directly from producers regarding their hopes, fears, and visions for federal farm policy," Combest said.  "During these field hearings, an issue brought up repeatedly was the issue of price disparities between what U.S. producers and their foreign competitors pay for certain agricultural inputs."

Over the last year, two comprehensive studies have been conducted to evaluate price differentials for seeds and pesticides.  The first study, conducted by the General Accounting Office (GAO) at the request of Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Tom Ewing (R-IL), evaluated prices charged for biotech seeds in the U.S. and Argentina.  The second study, prepared for USDA's Economic Research Service and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Guelph in Canada, evaluated price differentials of pesticides sold in Canada and the United States.

"We should not tolerate additional costs to our producers that are brought about because of unfair practices or unnecessary regulatory requirements," said Ranking Committee Member Charlie Stenholm (D-TX).  "I am hopeful that today's hearing will be a first step in finding ways to ensure that our producers receive the lowest cost inputs available."

"As a former businessman, I fully understand the costs and realities of researching, developing, and bringing a product to market," Combest said.  "But in farming, a few dollars difference in per acre inputs can be a determining factor in the profitability of a producer.  I am committed to working with all interested parties to further determine the causes of international pricing disparities and to find effective solutions to these concerns."

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