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Trade Policy Roundtable

Competitive Farm Exporters’ Stake in the Doha Round (May 26, 2005)

NEW data on the benefits to developing countries from further liberalization in agricultural trade and the prospects for trade-inducing reforms in the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill are the topics for the Institute’s next meeting.  Efforts to integrate agriculture into the world economy continue to be frustrated by one technical issue after another in the Doha Round negotiations. “Unless the agreed list of ‘exceptions’ that has been proposed is limited and the cuts in [bound] tariffs are substantial, the new opportunities provided by the Doha Round will be minimal,” notes Carlos Primo Braga, the World Bank’s economic adviser in Geneva, in a recent update on the WTO negotiations. 

Many technical complications have been raised by developing countries.  But others reflect the continuing resistance of the European Union, Japan and other G-10 countries to pressure from competitive agricultural-exporting countries to liberalize farm trade.  The last such issue, just resolved at a political level, was over the formula for converting specific duties into ad valorem equivalents, which Brussels had wanted to address near the end of the negotiations – when the Cairns Group would be over a barrel.

Improved market access, in both developing and developed countries, is essential for the United States if substantial domestic reforms are to be undertaken.  Developing countries contend that border protection is their form of farm support and that substantial reduction in domestic support is a must for developed countries. 

Debate on the 2007 Farm Bill

Field hearings will be held throughout the United States this year in the lead up to legislative consideration of the next Farm Bill in 2006. 

In the European Union, further reform of farm-support policies is underway, while in Japan there are signs of reform being contemplated.  In the United States, significant reform is expected due to budgetary pressures and the need to secure meaningful trade reform in the WTO negotiations.

On the Doha Round negotiations, JOE O’MARA, the Chairman of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade, will review the state of the negotiations on agriculture.  An analysis will be presented by KYM ANDERSON, of the World Bank, and RUSSELL LAMB, of Nathan Associates, economic consultants, Arlington, VA, will then discuss the political economy of U.S. farm subsidies and the 2007 farm bill.

The meeting will be held in Hogan & Hartson’s Fulbright Center, beginning at 10:30 am, continuing over lunch and ending at 2:00 pm.

Agenda for the Meeting

CHAIRMAN     Robert L. Thompson Gardner Professor of Agricultural Policy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, and Chairman, International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council, Washington, DC

 

10:30-11:30  State of Play in the Doha Round Negotiations on Agriculture…

SPEAKER        Charles J. (Joe) O’Mara Chairman, Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee on Trade, USDA and USTR, and President, O’Mara & Associates, international trade consultants, Washington, DC

DISCUSSANT  Jean-Francois Boittin Minister-Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of France, Washington, DC

11:30-12:30  Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Reform in the Doha Round… 

SPEAKER           Kym Anderson Lead Economist (Trade Policy), Development Research Group, World Bank, on leave from the University of Adelaide 

DISCUSSANT  Gary BlumenthalPresident, World Perspectives Inc., agricultural trade consultants, Washington, DC

 12:30-13:00 Buffet Luncheon

 13:00-14:00 Political Economy of U.S. Farm Subsidies and the 2007 Farm Bill… 

SPEAKER        Russell LambManaging Associate, Economic Research Department, Nathan Associates Inc., development consult-ants, Arlington, VA

DISCUSSANT  Robert YoungChief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC

About Those on the Program

Dr KYM ANDERSON is the Lead Economist (Trade Policy), World Bank, Washington, DC, on leave from the University of Adelaide, where he has been Professor of Economics since 1984 and, until recently, was the Director of the Centre for International Economic Studies.  In 1990-92, he was at the GATT Secretariat; and since then he has served on several WTO dispute-settlement panels and five of his recent monographs on WTO matters deal with China, Laos, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. 

Dr GARY BLUMENTHAL is President and CEO of World Perspectives Inc., agricultural  trade consultants, and President, International Food Strategies, a joint venture with the InterPublic Group, both in Washington, DC.  At the White House in 1991-93, he was Special Assistant to the President for Agricultural Trade and Food Aid, as well as Deputy Assistant for Cabinet Liaison.   In 1989-91, he was executive assistant, then Chief of Staff, to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Clayton Yeutter).

Mr JEAN-FRANÇOIS BOITTIN has been Minister-Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of France, Washington, DC, since 1999.  He was previously France’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, having earlier been Deputy Under Secretary, Department of External Economic Relations, French Ministry of Finance and Economy, Paris.  At the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in September 2003 he was the spokesman for the French delegation.

Dr RUSSELL LAMB, Managing Associate for Economic Research, Nathan Associates Inc., economic consultants, Arlington, VA, previously taught at North Carolina State University (1999-2004).  Earlier, he was a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1997-99; and an Economist at the Federal Reserve Board in 1994-96.  Dr Lamb has produced numerous articles and papers on U.S. economic policy, the economic outlook and commodity markets for energy and agriculture. 

Mr CHARLES J. (JOE) O’MARA, Chairman of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee on Trade, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative, is President of O’Mara & Associates, international trade consult-ants, Washington, DC.  During the Uruguay Round negotiations, Mr O’Mara was Counsel for International Affairs to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and then, as Special Trade Negotiator, he was responsible for the agriculture provisions in the final agreements.

 Professor ROBERT L. THOMPSON recently became Gardner Professor of Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois, having earlier been Director of Rural Development at the World Bank (1999-2002).  Since 2003 he has been Chairman of the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council, Washington, DC.  In 1985-87, he was Assistant Secretary for Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he was engaged in preparations for the Uruguay Round negotiations of 1986-94.   

Dr ROBERT YOUNG is the Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC.  Earlier he was co-Director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Columbia, MO (1991-2003), and Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri.  Before that he was the Chief Economist for the Committee on Agriculture in the U.S. Senate (1987-91) and was active in the development of the 1990 Farm Bill.

 

The Cordell Hull Institute’s Trade Policy Roundtable is sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Arnold & Porter, Hogan & Hartson, Miller & Chevalier, O’Melveny & Myers, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, Steptoe & Johnson and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr