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SUGAR INDUSTRY GIVES DUNKEL GATT PROPOSAL FAILING GRADE

 SUGAR INDUSTRY GIVES DUNKEL GATT PROPOSAL FAILING GRADE
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A representative of the U.S. sugar industry told the House Agriculture Committee today that the current version of an international trade proposal "is a bad agreement and should either be substantially changed or rejected."
 The assessment was made by Luther A. Markwart, executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, on behalf of the domestic sugar industry.
 Today's hearing was the second in an ongoing series of hearings recently initiated by Rep. E. (Kika) de la Garza (D-Texas), chairman of the Agriculture Committee, as part of an oversight strategy to monitor closing stages in the international trade negotiations, known as the Uruguay Round. Much of the hearing was expected to center on reactions to the so-called "Dunkel text."
 On Dec. 20, Arthur Dunkel, the secretary general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), offered a proposal in an effort to break a deadlock among some of the negotiating countries, notably the United States and European Community (EC).
 Markwart said, "In our view, the Dunkel text receives a failing grade in several specific areas, which makes it unacceptable."
 Here are some of the proposals in the Dunkel text that the sugar industry said it objects to:
 -- The Dunkel text proposes equal percentage cuts in the domestic support for all countries. The problem is EC sugar producers are supported well above their cost of production and at a level 41 percent higher than U.S. producers. This agreement would bring support well below U.S. producers' cost of production, forcing many out of business, yet would leave EC sugar producers with a distinct advantage over their U.S. counterparts.
 -- Additionally, the U.S. industry is concerned that under the Dunkel text the no-cost provision of the domestic sugar program could be violated. Since 1985 the U.S. sugar program, by law, has operated at no cost to the taxpayer.
 -- In export subsidies, the proposed minor reduction in volume and in expenditures leaves the EC free to continue dumping more than 3 million tons of highly subsidized sugar each year onto the world, distorting the world price.
 -- The Dunkel text would disallow the use of Section 22 authority of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which defends congressionally approved U.S. farm programs that are threatened by excessive imports.
 -- The "safeguard" provisions of the Dunkel text, which are supposed to be triggered if a domestic industry is threatened by such things as excessive surges in imports, are "inadequate, untimely and ineffective."
 -- The Dunkel text proposes establishment of a Multilateral Trade Organization (MTO), which would result in the clear loss of national sovereignty over many domestic laws. Establishment of an MTO should be fully understood and fully debated and decided upon by the Congress, independent of the Uruguay Round.
 Markwart said, "The domestic sugar industry supported the Uruguay Round negotiations from the beginning in hopes that these talks would bring about the total elimination of trade-distorting export subsidies."
 But, he added, that "throughout the negotiating process we have provided the administration with our specific concerns regarding the problems and inequities that we saw occurring during the negotiations. Regretfully, many of those concerns have either been ignored or have not been favorably addressed in these negotiations."
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Joseph Terrell of American Sugar Alliance, 202-457-1438/ CO: American Sugar Alliance ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


MK -- DC004 -- 8070 01/09/92 09:02 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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