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US Scores Own Goal With Farm Bill

Media Release - 14 May 2002 www.tln.org.nz

US Scores Own Goal With Farm Bill

The entry into law of the United States Farm Bill will work against US interests because it will make achieving international trade reform more difficult.

Trade Liberalisation Network Acting Chairman, Phil Lewin, said that the Farm Bill gave comfort to other subsidising nations like the European Union and Japan that their own practices could be continued even while the Doha round of international trade negotiations proceeds.

“The World Trade Organisation is the ultimate referee of whether these latest subsidies are acceptable under the rules. But it will make the negotiations to end farm subsidies more complicated. President Bush says free trade is the cornerstone of his agenda. If so, the Farm Bill can only be an ‘own goal’ of massive proportions”.

Mr Lewin rejected the idea that New Zealand should turn its back trade liberalisation. “Spitting the dummy will get us nowhere. We cannot go back – we can only go forward. There is no other credible alternative to dealing with powerful trading partners then seeking to improve trade rules”.

Mr Lewin said that the world was crying out for leadership on trade. “In Washington Jim Sutton might remind Bob Zoellick of President Truman’s words – ‘if we falter in our leadership we may endanger the peace of the world’.

For further information:

Phil Lewin, TLN Acting Chair, cell 021 956 026
Stephen Jacobi, TLN Executive Director, cell 021 490 974
Dan Ormond, Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce, 04 914 6507

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