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Introducing U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, it was said that free trade is kind of like heaven. You want to get there, but not yet. In her comments to Commodity Classic attendees in
She received a standing ovation from the over 1,000 growers in attendance at this year's annual meeting of the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and National Wheat Growers Association. Maybe a surprise since Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns got applause from the off-the-cuff comment at the American Farm Bureau meeting saying he sometimes wishes he could tell the WTO to take a hike.
She compared the ongoing
Talks stalled last July, despite an October 2005
She didn't deny that if more market access is offered, the
Since last July, there have been several quiet "what if" conversations bilaterally between countries that are helping move talks in the right direction. Instead of people just pointing fingers at each other, they're action talking to each other, she said.
Many news reports have circulated this week indicating a
However, she said a deal is "not imminent" but she is "cautiously optimistic" negotiators can reach an agreement in the weeks to months ahead, not years. She added that eight months ago she did not have the same optimism.
She reminded producers that the USDA farm bill proposal is not a new
She heads to
"The extension is imperative if our trade agenda is to move forward. If we're not moving forward, we're moving backward. It's imperative that TPA is in a useable form." Schwab said.
Other trade deals
Schwab is looking to close a deal on the
USTR is also working with Congress to get final approval for