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Ag Chairman Questions Message Being Sent by U.S. Trade Negotiators

USDA and European Union join against farmers' support for House Farm Bill

(October 12, 2001) – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) has called into question the message U.S. agriculture trade officials are sending in talks with the European Union.

"Reaction to the House farm bill by the European Union's Commissioner raises a red flag and a huge, huge question mark – what have our negotiators been saying? There is nothing in the House farm bill that artificially drives production, and nothing that takes away from our trading capabilities. The counter cyclical approach to farm supports is virtually unanimous among farmers, but is apparently rejected by U.S. negotiators," said House Ag Chairman Combest. "America's trade negotiators must not give up just to appease other countries."

A news release from the European Union's Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, has questioned American farm policy, following the adoption by the US House of Representatives October 5. Said the EU's ag commissioner, "I am surprised by the text as voted by the House of Representatives, because it doesn't seem to fit with what the US has been saying in the agricultural negotiations in Geneva. This attitude puts the U.S. in the ambiguous position of defending one line in Geneva while another line is supported by the House of Representatives."

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