WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte issued the following statement regarding his meeting with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy yesterday. Lamy was in Washington, DC earlier this week meeting with U.S. officials about the current status of the agricultural negotiations of the Doha Round.
“In my meeting yesterday with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, we discussed the current status of the agricultural negotiations of the Doha Round. Mr. Lamy was interested in collecting the views of various U.S. officials and I made my views quite clear. Earlier this year, members of the WTO called on the U.S. to make an ambitious and forthcoming proposal and the U.S. answered that call. No other country has introduced a proposal that even comes close to the U.S. proposal. Now, we are being called on to give even more and receive less. I conveyed to the Director General in no uncertain terms that this is not an option. There is absolutely no support in the Congress for further concessions on our part. We have yet to see strong action on the part of other WTO members, such as the EU, and we will not accept an agreement that benefits our international trading partners by putting our producers at a disadvantage.
While other nations enjoy open access to U.S. markets, American agriculture does not enjoy the same access in export markets around the world. Our producers face steep worldwide agricultural tariffs, currently averaging 62 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. agricultural tariffs average 12 percent, ranking the U.S. among the lowest agricultural tariff structures in the world. Our producers have been unfairly denied access to markets around the world for too long and it is time for U.S. producers to enjoy the benefits of fair trade and have full access to worldwide markets.
Fair trade is vital to U.S. producers and we will continue to seek access to markets for our producers as well as continuing to reduce trade barriers to U.S. products. 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.”