Lawmakers, farm and industry groups applaud agreement on cotton dispute
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that the United States and Brazil have agreed on a path toward a negotiated settlement with Brazil by agreeing to establish a fund of approximately $147.3 million per year on a pro rata basis to provide technical assistance and capacity building. The fund would continue until passage of the next Farm Bill or a mutually agreed solution to the Cotton dispute is reached, whichever is sooner.
The United States also agreed to publish a proposed rule by April 16, 2010, to recognize the State of Santa Catarina as free of foot-and-mouth disease, rinderpest, classical swine fever, African swine fever, and swine vesicular disease, based on World Organization for Animal Health Guidelines and to complete a risk evaluation that is currently underway and identify appropriate risk mitigation measures to determine whether fresh beef can be imported from Brazil while preventing the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States.
implementation of these initial steps, the
Cotton Council Chairman Eddie Smith stated that the
agreement announced today is a positive development in this very long dispute
and signals a path forward for the
critical aspects of the agreement are that it avoids the immediately harmful
economic effects of trade retaliation and it puts the serious discussion
concerning changes in the
“We are pleased that we have avoided retaliation and that the dialogue has begun,” explained Rebecca Bratter, Director of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates, Inc.
Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) issued the following statement in support of the Administration’s efforts:
behalf of BIO and its members, we applaud the Obama Administration for the
progress they have made in their discussions with
“We will continue to monitor these discussions within the Administration and in Congress until a long-term solution to this dispute is crafted. We trust that further discussions will result in an agreement that will be mutually-agreeable to both countries, respectful of our Farm Bill process and amenable to American farmers, workers and consumers.”
In the letter to USDA, R-CALF comments that “It appears that this concession to relax U.S. FMD restrictions is a quid-pro-quo response to Brazil’s willingness to make certain concessions regarding U.S. cotton exports, and we are deeply concerned that this action signifies that your Administration is following the footsteps of the previous Administration that had continually allowed trade-related objectives to decisively trump food safety and animal health safety. We urge you to reconsider your proposed action…The United States recently avoided, by sheer luck, a heightened risk of exposure to FMD that resulted from the previous Administration’s misguided and premature effort to accomplish for Uruguay what you are now proposing to accomplish for Brazil – a relaxation of FMD import restrictions to allow a region within Brazil to export higher-risk products to the United States despite that country’s overall failure to eradicate FMD.”
fortunate to have some champions in Congress that effectively thwarted – or at
least delayed – plans for the
letter also states: “…It remains our collective hope that your Administration
will take immediate, decisive steps to reverse the ongoing, systematic
relaxation of essential import restrictions to protect the health and safety of
the people of the
encouraging any and all groups and/or individuals who are opposed to putting
the U.S. live cattle industry at risk to sign on to this letter and make your
voice heard,” Bullard concluded. “USDA should be protecting our citizens and
livestock here, in the
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