USTR Provides Information on Bali Ministerial
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative - the multilateral agreement reached by the WTO membership in Bali takes important steps to address some key issues with regard to agricultural trade. One new decision will provide developing country members in danger of breaching their domestic support limits for food stockholding programs freedom from legal challenge in order to give them time to bring their policies in line with their WTO commitments. The USTR notes the United States worked to ensure this freedom from challenge is only available to members if their programs do not distort trade and if they meet certain transparency conditions to share the details of their support mechanisms. A new decision on export competition will require transparency to help members understand how their trading partners are proceeding toward the commitment of preserving well-functioning markets by facilitating competition amongst market actors. According to USTR - this result will ensure a balanced approach across all forms of export competition and provide an important impetus for members to resume the WTO agriculture negotiations - addressing the other pillars of these negotiations market access and domestic support - along with export competition.
An understanding on the administration of Tariff Rate Quotas - according to USTR - facilitates increased opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers, workers and food processors to enhance exports to a number of WTO member countries. USTR says this understanding provides American agricultural producers more market access by addressing the issue of chronically low fill rates in members' WTO bound TRQs.
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