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U.S. SUGAR INDUSTRY CALLS FOR FAIRNESS IN GATT

 U.S. SUGAR INDUSTRY CALLS FOR FAIRNESS IN GATT
 WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In Congressional testimony


today the U.S. sugar industry said it would welcome a Uruguay Round agreement that is "fair and progressive." But the industry said it fears this will not be the case.
 Jack Nelson, president of the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Santa Rosa, Texas, along with John C. Roney, vice president of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, told the House Agriculture Committee the domestic industry is concerned that any "Uruguay Round agreement that is likely to emerge from Geneva in the coming weeks will not the help U.S. farmers and could, in fact, worsen the current inequities in the world market."
 The House Agriculture Committee is considering the impact a trade agreement would have on various domestic commodities. Negotiations in the so-called Uruguay Round of talks are held under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which governs most world trade agreements.
 Among the reasons Nelson and Roney cited for the concern were:
 (1) European Community (EC) sugar supports are 41 percent higher than U.S. levels. Equal percentage reductions, which have been discussed, would leave EC producers' advantage undiminished, while U.S. producers' supports would be pushed further below their cost of production.
 (2) EC subsidized sugar exports may not be reduced. The EC is apparently insisting that it will agree only to value, not volume, constraints on export subsidies. In addition, the EC insists that its sugar export subsidies are "producer-financed" and therefore should not be subject to Uruguay Round disciplines.
 (3) Section 22 authority of the Agricultural adjustment Act of 1933, which defends congressionally approved U.S. farm programs that are threatened by excessive imports, could be sacrificed in the negotiations. The administration has damaged its negotiating position with regard to Section 22 by essentially offering it up for concession.
 Nelson commended House Agriculture Committee Chairman E. (Kika) de la Garza (D-Texas) for the "vigilance" the committee has demonstrated in monitoring the GATT negotiations and requested that this congressional "oversight" be continued.
 Nelson also said that sugar industry representatives plan to be present during the final days of negotiations in Geneva and he urged de la Garza to have committee members and staff available in Geneva as well.
 Roney said: "The sugar industry is efficient and would welcome the opportunity to compete globally on a level playing field. We will not, however, be able to support any Uruguay Round agreement that fails to diminish the distortions in the world sugar market and could even worsen the prevailing inequities. We fear that the presently proposed 30-35 percent reductions will do just this, as this mandates equal percentage cuts from widely unequal levels of support."
 Also, U.S.-proposed "safeguards" against excessive imports are woefully inadequate, Roney said.
 -0- 12/10/91
 /CONTACT: Joseph Terrell of the American Sugar Alliance, 202-457-1438/ CO: American Sugar Alliance ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DC-MH -- DC002 -- 0860 12/10/91 09:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 10, 1991
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