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.
Smith, Pombo Praise WTO Ruling on EU Beef Hormone Ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Bob Smith (R-OR), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, today praised the World Trade Organization's interim ruling against the European Union's ban on U.S. beef exports.
Smith and Pombo commented at an Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry hearing on agricultural trade relations between the United States and the European Union today.
"Open, competitive, and vibrant trade is critical to securing markets for American farmers and ranchers and to raising the standard of living for consumers the world over. But that requires governments to play by the rules of international trade. As we've known all along, the EU's ban on U.S. beef raised using growth hormones, which has cost U.S. red meat producers up to $250 million, is groundless and, according to the WTO, it is wrong," said Smith, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture.
"While this is certainly not the last word, it is nonetheless a critically important ruling, vindicating both U.S. producers and the cause of science in international trade. The WTO deserves credit for sticking to those principles. The ball is now squarely in the Europeans' court," Smith said.
Rep. Pombo agreed.
"Scientific study after scientific study has shown the use of hormones to be completely safe," Pombo said. "Equity, fairness, and the use of sound science need to be the hallmarks of our trade policy. If they are not, then protectionism, stalemate, and stagnation are not far behind."
The U.S. filed a formal complaint with the WTO in January, 1996, claiming the 10-year EU ban amounted to a non-tariff trade barrier. Argentina, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand joined the U.S. in the action. Late yesterday, the WTO released its interim report to the United States and European Union.
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District, which includes most of eastern, southern, and central Oregon, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pombo represents California's 11th Congressional District.