March 09, 2005

Crapo Says â??Deja-Vuâ?? At WTO But AG Trade Is Still Top Priority

Senator, Ag Committee members attend talks in Cancun, Mexico

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, returning to Washington, DC from the World Trade Organization talks in Mexico late today, said the failure to reach agreement at the WTO meeting is a result of other countries being unwilling to be as aggressive as the U.S. on cutting both subsidies and tariffs. Crapo says the WTO talks broke down when developing nations refused to agree to include in the ministerial text market access issues like tariff reductions. Crapo noted the U.S. was willing to discuss subsidies as long as tariffs imposed on our exports were also on the table in the talks.â??I would have preferred a better conclusion to the Cancun talks. I have said since I attended the WTO talks in Seattle in 1999 that we must prioritize our trade talks around agriculture. The only progress to be made for our growers and ranchers is reaching a deal that ensures expanded markets through reducing foreign tariffs on U.S. goods,â?? Crapo said. â??In Cancun, we kept U.S. agricultural interests at the forefront of discussions. We were willing to make progress. Unfortunately, some other nations were not willing to work with us. U.S. agriculture simply cannot be a trading chip dealt away by our country, and we will not settle for a deal that does not enhance the trading climate for our goods.â??Crapo traveled to Mexico as part of the Congressional delegation that met with trade ministers and representatives from several nations, including Mexico and Brazil. During the negotiations, the delegation worked closely with the U.S. negotiators to monitor the talks in an effort to ensure that the direction of the negotiations coincide with the interests of U.S. farmers and ranchers, businesses, consumers, and Congress. Crapo was a delegate to the 1999 WTO Talks in Seattle and helped announce a 1½ million metric ton wheat deal with China from Seattle. He attended the Cancun talks over the weekend with approximately 30 Members of Congress, including the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi). # # #