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WTO Sweetens Sugar.....Not!

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Mike

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Sugar producer groups are still awaiting word on whether sugar will be part of a World Trade Organization deal to allow unrestricted access to U.S. markets by 50 least-developed countries, officials said.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is leading the Doha round of WTO free-trade talks, is still considering what to exclude from the deal, said Jack Roney, director of economics and policy analysis for the American Sugar Alliance in Arlington, Va.

The United States adopted the proposal last month at the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong, where world agricultural subsidies were addressed. The deal calls for the United States to open all but 3 percent of its approximate 1,700 tariff line-items to duty-free and quota-free access to poor countries, he said.

“We’d prefer this is not in place at all,” Roney said.

But the alliance hopes sugar is ultimately included in the 3 percent of items that will remain off limits under the pact. If it isn’t, the alliance would probably have to oppose the trade deal if it went to Congress, he said.

“This is a serious threat,” he said.

That’s because the 50 least-developed countries produce a combined total of 3.3 million metric tons of sugar a year and export a total of 983,000 metric tons a year. If all that sugar came to the United States, it would lower market prices.

Jeff Henry, who grows sugar beets in the Eden-Hazelton area, said that would seriously damage U.S. sugar producers.

The U.S. program depends on the government regulating sugar sales to ensure adequate returns to producers, rather than paying subsidies, according to the Alliance. That much sugar coming into America duty-free would threaten the no-cost operation of the sugar program.

The issue is a major concern for producers, said Luther Markwart, executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association in Washington, D.C.

Further, countries could work the system by selling all their homegrown sugar in the United States, then buying back the sugar they need from the “world market.”

That market consists of subsidized sugar from Europe and other countries, sold for standard prices in those countries, that exceeds their needs and is dumped for barely half the cost of production to save on storage costs.

But American negotiators recognize the deal is a major issue for sugar, said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman at a Dec. 19 press conference in Hong Kong.

“We do have a program in place where we think duty-free access could create a problem, and that’s one reason we wanted to have some flexibility,” Portman said. “The other major issue I think would be textiles.”

Portman said negotiators believe they left enough space in the proposal to deal with any concerns in Congress. He said the United States hopes to wrap up the Doha round of WTO talks this year.
 

Mike

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Sandhusker said:
Isn't this WTO a great deal?

So much for sovereignty. "One World Order"......here we go.

When all those ships rise from the tide, the ocean is gonna be crowded enough to sink them.
 

Sandhusker

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Mike said:
Sandhusker said:
Isn't this WTO a great deal?

So much for sovereignty. "One World Order"......here we go.

When all those ships rise from the tide, the ocean is gonna be crowded enough to sink them.

Then you consider the Bible says folks will need to have the mark of the anti-christ so they can TRADE.
 

Sandhusker

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Let the Beet growers seed corn.[/quote

Are you aware that we just had the two largest crops on record? All the bins are full and it's piled all over the ground. Prices are below the cost of production. Do you want to be the one to tell the beet growers to grow corn? While you're at it, you can tell them how to use beet farming equipment to raise corn.
 

Econ101

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Let the Beet growers seed corn.

They are probably looking to raise cattle as the prices are encouraging now.
 

Econ101

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Let the Beet growers seed corn.

Sounds a little like Marie Antoinette, with her infamous quote:

"Let them eat bread",

Just before she met Mr. Guillotine.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Sandhusker said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
Let the Beet growers seed corn.[/quote

Are you aware that we just had the two largest crops on record? All the bins are full and it's piled all over the ground. Prices are below the cost of production. Do you want to be the one to tell the beet growers to grow corn? While you're at it, you can tell them how to use beet farming equipment to raise corn.


Not to worry sandy the government will bail them out. heck corn has been a rotation on alot of beet ground so not a big deal.
 

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