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Trade Policy Roundtable

The Next U.S. Farm Bill and the WTO Negotiations (July 15, 2005)

FARMERS’ dependency on subsidies in OECD countries has not changed much since the Uruguay Round agreement on agriculture entered into force ten years ago, according to the latest studies of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, reported in the Financial Times on June 22.  Last year, subsidies made up 30 percent of OECD farm incomes, the same as in 1995, and most subsidies are still linked to production decisions. 

Preparations for the next U.S. Farm Bill will be discussed in relation to the Doha Round negotiations at a half-day meeting in Washington on July 15, convened by the Cordell Hull Institute and the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council.  The speaker will be ROBERT L. THOMPSON, Gardner Professor of Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois, who was Assistant Secretary for Economics in the U.S. Department of Agri-culture during preparations for the Uruguay Round negotiations and later was Director of Rural Development at the World Bank. 

On the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill, field hearings and the Secretary of Agriculture’s “listening sessions”, beginning in Nashville on July 9, will be the public start of preparations.  The bill will have to be passed by Congress by the autumn recess next year if it is to cover winter wheat plantings.  Complicating matters are the troubled Doha Round negotiations, where the substantial liberalization of agricultural trade is being sought, and the crisis in the European Union over its long-term budget for the 2007-2013 period – with the British prime minister now pressing for further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the French prime minister declaring that “Europe was constructed around the CAP”. 

The OECD’s Agricultural Outlook 2005-14 and its latest report on Agricultural Policies: Monitoring and Evaluation tell much the same story they have been telling for years – which is that nothing much has changed.  The European Union heads the table of producer subsidy equivalents with $133 billion last year (nearly half the total OECD figure of $288 billion), followed by Japan at $49 billion and the United States at $46.5 billion.

HUGO PAEMEN, Senior Adviser at Hogan & Hartson, attorneys-at-law, who was earlier the Permanent Representative of the European Commission in the United States, will be the luncheon speaker on what the crisis in the European Union means for the 2007-13 budget and for the question of further CAP reform.

The meeting will begin at 10.00 am, with Professor Thompson presenting his paper in two parts, and continue through luncheon discussion to end at 2.00 pm.

PROGRAM

CHAIRMAN     Clayton Yeutter Of Counsel, Hogan & Hartson LLP, attorneys-at-law, Washington, DC, and Chairman, OppenheimerFunds Inc., New York; and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former U.S. Trade Representative

10:00-10:05  Welcome

10:05-11:00  Essentials of the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill in a Global Context

SPEAKER        Robert L. Thompson Gardner Professor of Agricultural Policy, University of Illinois, and Chairman, International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council, Washington, DC 

DISCUSSANT  James Grueff Partner, Decision Leaders LLC, trade consultants, Washington, DC; former Assistant Deputy Administrator, International Trade Policy, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

11:30-12:30  The Next Farm Bill and the Doha Round Negotiations  

SPEAKER        Robert L. Thompson as above 

DISCUSSANTS Evandro Didonet Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs and Trade Policy, Brazilian Embassy 

                    Frances FreemanMinister-Counselor (Agriculture), Australian Embassy

13.00-14:00  Recent EU Events, the 2007-13 Budget and CAP Reform

CHAIRMAN      Ann Tutwiler President, International Food and Agriculture Trade Policy Council, Washington, DC

SPEAKER          Hugo PaemenSenior Adviser at Hogan & Hartson LLP, attorneys-at-law, Washington, DC; previously Permanent Representative of the European Commission in the United States

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Ambassador HUGO PAEMEN, Senior Adviser at Hogan & Hartson, attorneys-at-law, was the Permanent Representative of the European Commission in the United States in 1995-99.  Earlier, he was Deputy Director-General for External Relations in the European Commission (1987-95), heading its team in the Uruguay Round negotiations.  In 1985-86, he was spokesman for the European Commission’s President, then Jacques Delors.

Mr EVANDRO DIDONET, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs and Trade Policy at the Brazilian Embassy since August 2003, was earlier Deputy Chief of Mission in the Brazilian Embassy in Ottawa.  In 1998-2001, he was in charge of economic affairs in the office of the Deputy Minister of External Affairs, where he also served in 1993-94.  Mr Didonet has also held posts in Vienna, Beijing, Bonn and Rome.

Ms FRANCES FREEMAN has been Minister-Counselor for Agriculture at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC, since 2002 and was closely involved in the negotiation of the U.S.-Australia free trade agreement.  She was previously Chief Economist at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), Canberra, one of the world’s largest agricultural policy research institutes – after the USDA.

Mr JAMES GRUEFF, a founding partner of Decision Leaders LLC, retired in January 2005 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he was Assistant Deputy Administrator for International Trade Policy in the Foreign Agricultural Service, serving as the USDA’s lead negotiator in the Doha Round negotiations.  In the Uruguay Round negotiations Mr Grueff was the U.S. lead negotiator on the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.

Hon. ROBERT L. THOMPSON recently became the 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.

Ms ANN TUTWILER has been President of the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council, Washington, DC, since 2002, having been a co-founder in 1987 and Associate Director until 1992.  In 1992-2002 she was Director of Government Relations at Eridania Beghin Say.  In that role, Ms Tutwiler co-founded the Coalition for a Competitive Food and Agricultural System, which advanced some of the reforms in the 1996 Farm Bill.

Hon. CLAYTON YEUTTER, Of Counsel at Hogan & Hartson LLP, attorneys-at-law, in Washington, DC, is Chairman of OppenheimerFunds Inc., New York.  Dr Yeutter was heavily involved in the Uruguay Round negotiations, first in getting them launched, when he was the U.S. Trade Representative (1985-88), and then in the crunch over agriculture when he was the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (1989-91).