Council Cites Missed Opportunity for Real Reform
Washington DC ¬ The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released a statement expressing concerns about the 2008 Farm Bill and its failure to include provisions that would adequately reform U.S. agricultural policy and eliminate or reduce export subsidies, tariffs and other trade distorting policies, specifically with regard to the U.S. sugar program.
“By proposing a Farm Bill that merely exacerbates existing trade distorting policies on agricultural goods, our bargaining power on a multilateral level is markedly weaker than if Congress proposed true reforms,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “Congress had a real opportunity to significantly reform the U.S. sugar program and do away with a number of trade distorting subsidies, but they chose not to do so.”
Nearly one year ago, the NFTC expressed support for alternative Farm Bill proposals that would have helped reduce or even eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. The NFTC believed that these reforms would have helped to better position the United States in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations.
“The problem with our current sugar policy and provisions included in the new Farm Bill is that they do a major disservice to the U.S. economy – namely the American farmers and workers that power the agriculture and related services industries,” said Reinsch.
“Market distorting agriculture subsidies like those engrained in the U.S. sugar program are problematic because they limit export opportunities and consumer choice, and leave American taxpayers with a hefty price to pay. In turn, over time these distortions result in job loss and the inability of American farmers to remain competitive in the global marketplace,” Reinsch concluded.