WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte issued the following statement today regarding the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial talks underway in Hong Kong:
“I am disappointed to hear of the European Union’s continued obstinacy in the WTO Ministerial talks in Hong Kong. Their refusal to discuss market access or even consider movement on their proposal is hindering any progress that would move these negotiations forward. This is an unfortunate situation to be in when you are at the point of a Ministerial Conference in trade negotiations.
The U.S. presented a comprehensive proposal prior to the Ministerial; however, we have seen no effort on the part of the EU or other countries to come close to our offer. Until the EU is willing to make a more realistic proposal, these negotiations will remain at a stand still and no progress will be made to create a more level playing field for U.S. producers as well as producers in developing countries.
The EU is attempting to detract attention from their own doggedness by attacking the U.S. food aid programs and individual commodity programs. The U.S. is the largest food aid contributor in the world. While the U.S. accounts for less than 5 percent of the total world population, we contribute 58 percent of the total worldwide food aid. Our food aid programs provide desperately needed help to feed hungry people around the world. The Doha Round should not place limits on how a country administers its food aid programs and should allow countries to continue to provide assistance as they see fit to those in need around the world.
Additionally, real reform is needed worldwide for all commodities and the WTO negotiations are intended to create a forum to do that. The U.S. is willing to negotiate, but we will not unilaterally disarm. Fair trade involves all parties participating equally and at this point we will need to see a more aggressive effort from our trading partners.”