U.S. Grains Council: Market access, more clarity needed for negotiations


WASHINGTON — The leader of the U.S. Grains Council is calling for market access, more clarity and more information regarding tariffs through the current round of negotiations in the World Trade Organization.

Thomas Dorr, USGC president, said the council supports the nation’s position, which calls for similar things.

Met in Geneva

Dorr, along with USGC trade policy advisory team members, traveled to Geneva recently for meetings that coincided with the WTO Ministerial Conference.

“Although there is expressed frustration with the delay in coming to an agreement, it is important not to overlook that the underlying tone is that trade expansion and its commensurate benefits, driven by many of the fundamental WTO initiatives, have been beneficial, particularly during the past year of financial turmoil,” Dorr said.

The team met with U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Jim Miller, who informed them of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) strategy for the negotiations.

Miller told the group that the Ministerial Conference was not a negotiating session, but that the Doha Round (the current round of negotiations with WTO) was in the end-game. His primary concern was whether the United States was getting adequate market access from the advanced developing nations for the price it is expected to pay.

“The feeling by most non-U.S. observers is that 90 percent of the WTO members wish to conclude the round, but believe the United States and India are ambivalent to the effort,” Dorr said.

“However, USTR and USDA suggest otherwise. It appears that India may be more interested in becoming committed because of their interest in obtaining service agreements.”


Representing council members at the meetings included Phillip “Chip” Councell, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board; Dale Murden, Texas Grain Sorghum Association; Dan Kidd, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee; and Dale Artho, United Sorghum Checkoff Program.

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