Growers Urge Trade Reforms In WTO

Published online: Oct 25, 2002
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>“It is essential that the Administration pursue comprehensive sector-specific negotiations within the broader framework of the WTO agricultural negotiations.”

So said Jack Roney, director of Economics and Policy Analysis for the American Sugar Alliance, testifying this week before the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Roney said a “broad-brush approach” to the negotiations would not capture the numerous “non-transparent” forms of subsidies that permeate the global sugar industry.

Roney said, “Particularly troublesome are proposals to exempt developing countries from new commitments (to sugar reform), or to grant these countries much lengthier schedules of implementation.

“Developing countries account for fully three-quarters of global sugar production.”

He said that in order to bring effective reform to the world sugar market, the same level of commitment and the same schedule of implementation must apply to both developing and developed countries.

Roney cautioned that unless trade-distorting practices in the sugar sector are eliminated, this round of WTO negotiations would not have reformed the world sugar market. World sugar market prices would still not reflect the cost of producing sugar. Absent global sugar policy reform, further increases in market access would only expose U.S. and other producers around the world to the ruinously low prices.