Talks among a group of ministers from member nations of the World Trade Organization begin Monday in Geneva. The talks will be based on the latest agriculture draft text issued by Ambassador Crawford Falconer. There is cause for optimism. In their first comments since the draft was circulated, most members said it is in a more suitable shape to present to the ministers. But they also highlighted areas where they felt further changes are needed.
U.S. Senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, joined 17 members of the Committee Friday urging a balanced outcome to Doha Round trade negotiations. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, the lawmakers expressed concern over decisions in the agricultural negotiations that can impact domestic producers.
"Twice before, the United States rightly rejected an unbalanced framework agreement and opted instead to continue discussions towards achieving a comprehensive result that will generate new trade flows," wrote the Senators. "Discussion in Geneva must fulfill the underlying mandate of the Round to foster development, yet this objective need not and cannot be an exercise in which developed countries like the United States accept an unbalanced outcome. Neither U.S. agriculture nor individual commodities should have to shoulder an unfair burden of the negotiations. If you are presented with an unbalanced text, we urge you to reject it in favor of continued negotiations."