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Eye-opener for SH and MRJ

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Feb 10, 2005
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Following are excerpts from an unofficial transcript of the briefing as obtained from Federal News Service:

American Farm Bureau Federation press Conference
re: retaliation on EU ban on beef imports

National Press Club
Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Scher: ... Let me say I was out in Iowa yesterday. We're having a series of listening sessions through the country about the next round of trade negotiations which will begin in Seattle later this year, as you know.

And one of the things I heard yesterday and we're hearing constantly throughout these sessions is that farmers and ranchers around the country recognize that they need the world trading system, that they need the opportunity to compete fairly around the world. But they are concerned that the United States, when it enters a deal, it keeps its word. And that other countries, particularly in this case the European Union has failed to do so. (What do you think this "deal" is? Read on)

In particular, they're concerned about the EU. And we understand that concern and we share that concern. And that is why the enforcement of our trade agreements is such a high priority for this Administration.
The report we received yesterday is a demonstration of the commitment that we have made to enforcement of our trade agreements. It did two things. Number one, it reaffirmed the position that the United States and Canada has taken, that the EU's ban on our beef treated with hormones is unjustified and is a violation of the World Trade Organization commitments.

It also determined that, as you know, the United States has suffered a yearly loss of over $116 million. This demonstrates that the WTO system, unlike the previous GATT, now has the ability to impose penalties for failure to comply with its obligation. And the EU now must pay a price for this unjustified ban. (This includes penalties on us)

But it does raise, as these gentlemen mentioned this morning, a broader point about the EU's commitment to the multilateral system. This is now the second time this year in a WTO dispute that the EU has failed to honor its WTO obligations. To put a finer point on it, the EU now has become the only member of the 134-nation membership of the WTO to fail to respect rulings of the dispute settlement panel.

It is our hope that the EU will see that their position, their failure to comply with these rulings, is undermining the credibility of the dispute settlement process, because the objective of the WTO dispute settlement process ... is compliance. Retaliation doesn't help any of these people or the people that they represent. It doesn't make us feel better. What it does is simply impose a price for failure to comply.

The EU needs to recognize that it cannot be the only member of the WTO to ignore the rules and the findings of this panel. And so it is with regret ... that we have to resort to trade retaliation against the EU. But we will exercise our rights. And we will impose 100 percent duties on EU products, and we will implement the suspension of these concessions very shortly. (ask yourselves, "Who grants these "rights" that will overturn local law?)

And this retaliation will stay in place until the EU has lifted its ban. We of course remain willing and frankly eager to sit down and to resolve this issue with the European Union, and it's our hope that now with a new Commission and a new president they will want to make a fresh start. And we remain committed to providing EU consumers and the world consumers with the choice to purchase the finest quality beef in the world ...

Question: Emily Schwartz (ph) from Bloomberg News. I'd like to know from Mr. Scher, Ambassador Scher, when will the USTR say what it intends to do, what products will be subjected to the duties? And are you considering a carousel system as recommended by Len Condon?

A: ... We are now in the process of working within the Administration. As you know, we have an inter-agency process. We're consulting based on the arbitrator's decision yesterday (July 12). And I think very shortly, I mean, probably within a week, 10 days at the outset. It could be sooner, but I don't think any longer than that. I mean, I would expect by the end of July this retaliation will be in place, and we'll announce that earlier.

In terms of the carousel, let me say that we have the authority in the U.S. government and within USTR to change the list. We have to go through a process in the Federal Register of providing notice of our intention to do so. And that option remains on the table. I think it is premature right now to speculate, since we haven't put the initial retaliation in place. And the question becomes if, after a certain period of time, we determine that it's appropriate to change the retaliation, we have the authority to do that.

Q: Pete Casper (sp) from Bridge News. I've got a question for Peter, just to follow up on hers, too, on the carousel question. I mean, (USTR Charlene) Barshefsky said maybe a month or two ago that _ she sort of hinted that maybe they don't want to do it because it creates a bad environment for the importers. But, I mean, in light of the low findings, do you find this now necessary? Or are you leaning more towards it, would you say?

A: Well, I don't _ again, I think ... our first objective is to make sure that with the amount that the arbitrators have determined can be implemented, to use that most effectively. That's our hope that we can use it effectively enough that the EU will see fit to come into compliance.

Just remember something. By the end of this month _ I mean, this is unprecedented, if you think about it. By the end of this month, the European Union will have over $300 million worth of retaliation in place. There's $191 million already in place for their failure to comply with the banana rulings, and now you have another $116.8 (million), and Canada has another $11 million. So, you know, you're going to have a bit over $300 million in place. That will have an effect. (notice there are penalties for not complying with this unelected unaccountable governing body? These apply to us, too)

What also should have an effect _ I mean, the effect of that will be that the EU now will have a big scarlet `F' for their failure to comply with the WTO. And I think that's significant in Geneva. The EU _ it's been a constant refrain ... There's been a constant refrain out of the EU about U.S. unilateralism. Well, now the question is, with the EU, with their big scarlet `F' on their shirt, whether or not they will be committed to the multilateral process and whether or not they will stop acting unilaterally in disregarding rulings of the WTO ...

Q: Heather Skall (sp) with Market News. Can I just ask, what do you think the prospects are for starting a new round in Seattle, in which agriculture is going to be a major part, when you have two major agricultural cases? That doesn't really bode well for a new round of agricultural talks. And also, could you tell us, have you had any indications from the EU that they might be willing to negotiate either of these two cases (or if you're?) trying to resolve them?

A: Well, on the banana case, in fact, I was in Europe two weeks ago and we had some meetings with the European Commission reviewing the range of options that the EU has to comply with the banana ruling. And we'll see. I mean, again, I think right now you have a situation in which the commission is in flux. Some commissioners are resigning and new commissioners have been announced but haven't been confirmed. So I think it'll be a little more time.

In terms of the beef issue, ... we've had discussions with the European Commission and with member states, and the European Commission has offered to compensate us, but in a way that we don't feel [is] appropriate. And, in fact, I think it's important to note that compensation is not viewed _ if you look at the rules of the Uruguay Round or the rules of the WTO, compensation is not viewed as a permanent solution. And so we're not interested in simply, you know, having lower tariffs for forest products or lower tariffs for widgets or lower tariffs for something else and go away. (Proof that this unelected ruling body actually rules - why else would the EU offer compromise?)

Compensation is viewed as a temporary measure. In fact, those are the words that are used. It's a temporary measure as a bridge towards compliance. And what we have told the EU repeatedly is that we're prepared to work with them to develop a compensation package which is a bridge towards compliance, but we want the compliance ...

Q: ... What can you tell us about what the WTO's rationale was behind reducing it from 200 to 116? Can you go through some of the _ (more proof the WTO has the final power over EVERYBODY)

A: Well, some of the elements are _ you know, this is not _ they looked _ and I have Ralph Feibs (sp) here, who I'll ask to come up. And he's been through the decision a little more extensively than I have. But one of the elements was the non-hormone beef quota, which, at the time that we submitted our request, there was a question about whether or not we would still have access to that. There is less of a question now.

And essentially what the panel does is look at the variety of beef that we would have been able to export and make an economic judgment about how much loss we suffered. Obviously we estimated that we thought we would have sold more beef than they thought, and that's why they came to the conclusion. If you want, we can _ is the decision up on the Internet yet? The decision is on the Internet, so you can read it yourself.

Q: ... Ambassador Scher, do you think $116 million is going to be effective, though? Is it large enough to have an impact, or can they just try to pay compensation or accept the pain spread out through 15 countries?

A: Well, look, obviously we would always like it to be larger rather than smaller. But I think that what we have to look at is a combination of factors. Again, you're going to have a situation in which over $300 million worth of retaliation will be in place. And that has a cumulative effect. I mean, the fact is that European exporters who are hurt by that aren't going to care whether or not their retaliation came from beef or bananas. All they know is they will not be able to ship their products to the United States. And obviously that's the objective. That's one of the objectives.

Secondly, again, I do think we have a new commission coming into place, a new president, Prodi, who has said he wants to resolve these trade disputes. And it is our hope that he will bring some strong leadership. And again, I do think, don't underestimate the impact of the EU, you know, which wants to be and likes to hold itself out as the leader of the multilateral process and the fact that they, as I said, have this big, you know, mark on their record now and the only country that has their mark on their record.

And, you know, frankly, they have their own interest in the WTO dispute settlement system, and they try to get countries to comply with decisions. And so it's a little _ you know, they're hoisted on their own petards as they seek to enforce their rights within the WTO. So I think that we've got to look for a combination of those factors to move this issue, and I think we have to remain vigilant. I think it will be a mistake if we simply take the attitude that we're going to put the retaliation in place and then walk away. I think we have to keep the pressure on. We have to work with each of the member states individually, work with the new commission, and really press them to come into compliance with their obligations.

SH and MRJ, see what is going on here? The WTO is using real power to force the EU to vacate their own laws. They have the choice on obeying or they pay. I've pointed out the EU recognizes the power over them.

Here's the deal - All of the countries in the EU are democracies - same as us. They elect people to make laws - same as us. Their courts are responsible for enforcing those laws - same as us. This post illustrates the WTO has authority over those courts and laws that were enacted by elected officials in the best interests of the local populace - same as us. The WTO officials who make the rulings that effect these people are not accountable to the people they rule over - same as us.

This case was brought against the EU by the US because we disagreed with their laws and it was costing us lost sales. In effect, we were saying that these sovereign nations had to answer to us - their laws could not hurt our business. I ask you who the hell are we do take that position?

This could (and already has) happened TO us. Cases have been brought to the WTO and we have had to change our laws because they were causing some other nation to lose sales. SALES TRUMP LAWS! OTHER COUNTRIES SALES TRUMP OUR LAWS! Thes laws could be public safety, consumer protection, environmental protection, etc....

Now, do you think this is what our forefathers were thinking of? Is this what veterans fought and died for? Sales?
Translation: The EU has not lost it's sovereignty to foreign rule. The EU has a choice.


~SH~ said:
Translation: The EU has not lost it's sovereignty to foreign rule. The EU has a choice.



Open your eyes, SH. You can't possibly be that dense. Yes, they have a choice, pay or change - and they grudgingly will do one or the other. So far, they have been paying. If the WTO had no authority over them, why would they do either?

The other day you claimed in a post that you bring the truth. Why do you avoid the truth here? You refuse to believe example after example that has been presented before. Why don't you ask Agman? He'll sugar coat it and give a justification, but he won't lie. One thing about Agman - I agree with him on virtually nothing, but I do believe him to be honest.

Ask him what I have presented here to be false. Get you head out of the sand and ask him, SH.

What you want here is for me to agree that we will give up our sovereignty to the WTO if we enter into CAFTA.

That is pure bullsh*t.

I will not agree to that because I know exactly how you and ocm want to define "giving up our sovereignty" to support your anti trade bias.

If you enter into any trade agreements you risk the chance of the WTO or foreign countries dictating their beliefs on you "BUT" THE U.S. STILL HAS A DAMN CHOICE in whether they will abide by that or not. You may have to give something up TO GET SOMETHING but you only want to discuss WHAT WE MIGHT GIVE UP and I'm not going down your one way street.

You want to provide example after example of WHAT WE GIVE UP but where is your examples after examples of WHAT WE GAINED????

They are nonexistant because you have your head in the damn import blaming pipe again.

If you want to talk about what we gain along with what we lose, then I'll talk. If you only want to get me to discuss what we lose, you can discuss that with your fellow import blamers.

The simple fact that you and ocm will not provide one example where we, AS BEEF PRODUCERS, gave up our sovereignty to NAFTA let alone provide the wording that backs that position from either the NAFTA or the CAFTA agreements once again proves the weakness in your arguments.

You create an illusion of a loss of sovereignty but no proof.

You just throw sh*t out there that you hope will stick to the wall which is a time honored tradition among blamers.

I'm very intuned to your little manipulative games and I won't play them with you any more than I'll be led around by ocm the coward.

SH, "What you want here is for me to agree that we will give up our sovereignty to the WTO if we enter into CAFTA."

No, I don't. I'm trying to show you that we ALREADY have given up sovereignity to the WTO and CAFTA is just more of the same.

Once again, SH, you know there is absolutley nothing I can ever present to you where you will say, "Dang, you might be right". Nothing. Why do you refuse to ask the only person you believe? Why, SH? Why do you look at example after example and not see the obvious? It's no secret. Let me be blunt - ASK AGMAN OR SHUT THE %&^^ UP!

Using your definition of "giving away our sovereignty" you are willing to do just that with Japan with your 100% testing ploy.

You are such a hypocrite.

I'll bet your only exposure to the CAFTA agreement is what the R-CULT pied pipers have sent you which is nothing more than the "fear mongering" scare tactics that you want to hear.

When the EU requested us to ban growth hormones, DID WE????



Yeh, run like hell from the obvious again and grab your paint brush.

Agman knows that the only time we would give up something is when we agree to it because we have something to gain by it JUST LIKE YOU WERE WILLING TO DO WITH YOUR JAPANESE CONSUMER DECEPTION YOU HYPOCRITE.

That is not giving up our sovereignty or falling under foreign rule, this is AGREEING TO GIVE SOMETHING UP TO GAIN SOMETHING.

That's what "TRADE" is!


The EU demand on growth hormones is a perfect example. OUR CHOICE WAS TO TELL THEM TO PACK SAND!

The problem with you, ocm, and the rest of the R-CULT/OCM isolationists is that you refuse to acknowledge what we gain. Blamers can't think in terms of what we gain, they can only think in terms of what we lose.

A $1.3 "BILLION" dollar trade surplus in the beef/cattle industry means nothing to you because you can't understand it.

You don't know much about the EU hormone/WTO relationship, do you? Understandable, since you don't understand the US's relationship with the WTO, either.

SH, we WON that case. The EU is the one who had counter tariffs OKed by the almighty WTO. They're the ones paying the penalty!

SH, "That is not giving up our sovereignty or falling under foreign rule, this is AGREEING TO GIVE SOMETHING UP TO GAIN SOMETHING."

Answer me this then - what did we agree to give up?
Sandman: "SH, we WON that case. The EU is the one who had counter tariffs OKed by the almighty WTO. They're the ones paying the penalty!"

We never banned growth hormones per the EU's request which proves my point of having a choice whether we will abide by foreign rule during trade negotiations or not.

I guess your acknowledgement that we have a choice in abiding by foreign policy could be considered a start towards your ignorance reduction process.

~SH~ said:
Sandman: "SH, we WON that case. The EU is the one who had counter tariffs OKed by the almighty WTO. They're the ones paying the penalty!"

We never banned growth hormones per the EU's request which proves my point of having a choice whether we will abide by foreign rule during trade negotiations or not.

I guess your acknowledgement that we have a choice in abiding by foreign policy could be considered a start towards your ignorance reduction process.


The foreign rule I mention is the WTO, not the EU! Geeeeeeze. The EU is now submitting to the WTO's ruling. Is that so hard to understand? I thought you knew this story.

You never answered my question on what we are giving up. What did we agree to give up, SH?
Sandman: "The foreign rule I mention is the WTO, not the EU! Geeeeeeze."

Well get your story straight, geeeeeeze!

Sandman: "The EU is now submitting to the WTO's ruling."

We are not exporting to the EU because we chose not to cave to their demands to ban growth hormones. We chose to withold our sovereignty over trading with the EU. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Sandman: "You never answered my question on what we are giving up. What did we agree to give up, SH?"

Our ability to export to the EU.

What a stupid question!


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