Apr 7, 1989
AGRICULTURAL CONSULTATIONS STALLED ON U.S. "SET-ASIDE"GENEVA, APRIL 6, BY CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN. – The Uruguay round green room consultations on agriculture Wednesday night have been stalled over the short-term freeze issues, and particularly the U.S. "set-aside" programme, GATT participants reported Thursday morning Due to the deadlock on agriculture, there were no consultations Wednesday night on TRIPS, textiles or safeguards, they added. The Trade Negotiations Committee is meeting Thursday morning at level of heads of delegations to receive reports from Dunkel about his green room consultations; thereafter the green room consultations are to resume. The consultations on agriculture (involving mainly the U.S., EEC and the Cairns Group) have reached understanding on the issues of long-term reform, but to wrap it up, the participants have to reach agreements also on short-term measures, and particularly "freeze" on issues of export subsidies, market access and other governments support measures. Key to this agreement, participants said, was the U.S. set-aside programme, under which farmers are paid to leave acreage fallow as a measure of supply control. The EEC insists that any measure of short-term reform and supply control must include the U.S. set aside programme, under which currently about 28 percent of U.S. farm land is lying fallow. The U.S. is not agreeable to it. At last night’s consultations, the EEC negotiator, Guy Lagras, reportedly said if he were to go out of the consultations and announce that the freeze would hot apply to the "set aside" programme, everything that had been negotiated so far (long-term arrangements and reform programmes) would be lost. Participants said the talks had been suspended at that stage.