David Senter, 202-331-4348
CORN GROWERS SAY FAILURE TO REACH WTO AGREEMENT
IS GOOD NEWS FOR FAMILY FARMERS
Real WTO Agenda Was To Eliminate Farm Programs
WASHINGTON, DC…..December 6, 1999---American Corn Growers Association
(ACGA) President Keith Dittrich, a corn producer from Tilden, Nebraska,
witnessed the collapse of trade talks this past Friday as part of the World
Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Seattle. While U.S. negotiators pushed
for a reduction in tariffs on agricultural commodities, they also pushed
for reductions in farm supports in other countries proposing "significant
reductions in farm subsidies both here in the U.S. and abroad."
"In no way would this have been a good agreement for American agriculture,"
stated Dittrich. "This discussion was really an attempt to dismantle farm
programs here and around the world. This agreement did not address the
rights of every nation to develop their own national farm policy. It did
not take into account the differences in monetary, environmental, and
social policies and standards of living of our trading partners."
The ACGA believes that family farmers should not be pitted against their
foreign counterparts to the advantage of multinational grain exporting and
processing companies. Farm programs must be allowed to exist to encourage
fair prices if family farm agriculture is to survive. Hopefully our
negotiators will take a different approach next time and recognize the
uniqueness and multifunctionality of the family farm agricultural system.
While the ACGA encourages expanded export markets for corn, exporting
domestic production below cost of production levels does nothing to help
U.S. farmers. This is especially true with the only real growth in corn
utilization coming from the domestic marketplace.
"Without increases in farm price support levels, farm gate prices will stay
at current historic lows. This trade agreement being pushed by the U.S.
would have kept low prices in place for years to come," added Dittrich.
A recently released chart by the ACGA showing key indicators of the farm
sector covering the last 25 years, shows that major reductions in farm
price supports and several major trade agreements have not improved exports
of basic commodities, including corn.
"Instead of chasing pie in the sky trade deals that have not boosted farm
exports nor worked to the advantage of family farmers, the Administration
and Congress should address major changes to the current farm program. This
would have a genuine positive affect on farm prices and farm income,"
Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Ave. South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone) 612-870-4846 (fax)
cell phone 612-385-7921
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