Goodlatte Statement on Trade Talks

Jul 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Chairman Bob Goodlatte made the following statement regarding recent reports from Geneva involving the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round:

“I applaud Secretary Johanns and Ambassador Schwab for standing their ground and not compromising the trade opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. They have faced significant challenges in this round and I am confident that they will continue to pursue market opportunities for U.S. agricultural products. The U.S. was asked to come up with a bold proposal to significantly reduce domestic supports and our proposal did just that. Yet, our trading partners refused to even meet us part way. As disappointing as the result may be, from the standpoint of America’s farmers and ranchers, no deal is better than a bad deal.

“Market access has been a significant issue for the U.S. The U.S. is one of the most open markets and offers some of the lowest tariffs in the world. While our import tariffs average roughly 12 percent, the import tariffs of our trading partners average 62 percent. How can our producers be expected to compete in a world market that is so heavily weighted against them?

“One of our negotiators biggest challenges in these talks was to reach some sort of compromise on the market access issue, but it appears that our trading partners are unwilling to match our ambitious proposal and thwart any promise of an agreement. The stagnant situation we find ourselves in today is disappointing; however, it is not surprising given the limited movement we’ve seen from other World Trade Organization (WTO) members. Trade agreements provide opportunities to break down trade barriers, open markets, and reduce tariffs and whether it be through bilateral or multi-lateral negotiations, we will continue to pursue trade opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers.”