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WGA CALLS FOR IMPROVED GLOBAL MARKET ACCESS IN WAKE OF U.S.-MEXICO AGREEMENT

 WGA CALLS FOR IMPROVED GLOBAL MARKET ACCESS
 IN WAKE OF U.S.-MEXICO AGREEMENT
 IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Western Growers Association called for improved global market access for U.S. fresh produce following the announcement of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
 "We applaud the administration's efforts to open markets in Mexico, however, free trade must be established worldwide, not just with countries whose people cannot afford to buy our products," said David Moore, president of WGA, the trade association representing fresh produce growers, packers and shippers in Arizona and California.
 "We would like to see improved market access in Japan, Korea and the European Community for our members' fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts," Moore said. "These are countries where the people have the desire and money to buy our products. We encourage the administration to turn its full attention to opening these markets."
 Moore acknowledged that the NAFTA appears close to enactment. "We haven't had the opportunity yet to review the final document," Moore said. "However, we understand that our objectives have been accomplished for the most part."
 One of WGA's primary objectives had been to provide a sufficient phase-out period for duties on sensitive fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts produced in the Western United States. "Appropriate phase-out periods will help our growers adjust in the new competitive environment created by the agreement," said Moore.
 The association strongly objected to the immediate reduction of tariffs during periods of U.S. production. WGA also pushed for a strong phytosanitary package in the agreement.
 While the association ad received a commitment from the administration to provide the most sensitive perishables with a safeguard mechanism, Moore was not completely satisfied with the outcome. "The volume-based tariff rate quotas that we understand have been adopted in the agreement benefit Midwestern grain producers and Mexican produce growers, but fail to safeguard the Western U.S. produce industry," Moore said.
 Moore pointed to the price-based snapback mechanism, a precedent set in the U.S.-Canada free trade agreement and Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), as a better choice.
 -0- 8/12/92
 /CONTACT: Barbara Buck of Western Growers, 714-863-1000/ CO: Western Growers Association ST: California IN: FOD SU:


AL-JB -- LA022 -- 6163 08/12/92 12:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 12, 1992
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