Office of the United States Trade Representative


Statement of USTR Rob Portman on Agriculture Negotiations


"Agriculture is the key to breaking the deadlock, and moving the entire negotiation forward.   Today, the G-20 and Australia demonstrated forward movement in the area of market access.  

"The U.S. welcomes their contribution to limit the number of sensitive products that would be treated separately from the formula reductions.   The G-20 suggested that the percent should be no more than 1%.  This is very welcome indeed, and echoes the U.S. proposal. 

"For Doha to achieve the goals set forth in the July 2004 framework, all WTO Members must provide improved and substantial market access.  To the degree there are numerous exceptions to formula tariff cuts in agriculture – market access will be diminished. 

"In agriculture, World Bank economists calculate that 93 percent of the global benefits from removing distortions in agriculture would come from market access.  That is why the United States is calling for dramatic tariff reductions for developed countries – no less than 55% and up to 90%. 

"On the heels of the G-20 and Australian offerings on sensitive products, we hope to see much more ambition from the EU.  The current EU proposal allows for 8% of tariffs, 160 different tariff lines, to be deemed 'sensitive' and thus exempt from strong cuts."


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