Conflicts still in the forefront as new Doha round begins

By Nicholas Zeman | October 14, 2009
Posted November 11, 2009

Several trade problems have been looming between Europe and the U.S. most regarding "contamination" of soy shipments with trace amounts of "non-approved" genetically modified crops. With World Trade Organization negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda restarting, the American Soybean Association presented it priorities to U.S. trade Ambassador Ron Kirk.

For One, ASA and the National Oilseed producers do not want to be penalized for U.S. subsidies of beans and other oilseeds in the form of tariffs that discourage the penetration of export markets. "Unfortunately the current drafts on the table contain so many loopholes and exemptions, U.S. producers would receive little in market access gains while having to give up a great deal in the area of domestic support," said ASA President Johnny Dodson said. "ASA and other agricultural organizations have repeatedly emphasized the need for a big outcome on market access commensurate with the concessions U.S. agriculture is asked to make on domestic support."

Also, developing countries like Argentina and Malaysia have an indirect subsidy for the domestic processing of soybeans. This means that whole soybean exports are taxed at a higher rate than oil, meal and biodiesel. "This practice of taxing exports of a whole commodity, and particular soybeans, at a higher rate than its processed products clearly represents a significant export subsidy to the domestic processing industry, and it must be eliminated un any final Doha agreement."
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