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European Trade Commissioner Must Focus on a Comprehensive Agreement

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European Trade Commissioner must focus on a comprehensive agreement

Statement of Senate Ag Chairman Chambliss

"European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson commented Tuesday on cotton and the World Trade Organization. His statements were very disappointing and raise doubts whether the European Union is serious about the agriculture negotiations in the World Trade Organization. His call for an 'early harvest' singling out cotton for separate negotiations runs counter to the need to produce a comprehensive agreement that will benefit all member countries. As Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, I do not support this approach and will urge the United States Trade Representative to reject this divisive tactic.

"While the United States will comply with our obligations under the dispute settlement panel and promote real reform in the agriculture sector, I do not support separating cotton from the comprehensive negotiations currently underway. Mr. Mandelson's time and effort could better help developing countries by ensuring negotiators in Geneva reach agreement on a methodology to cut tariffs. The World Bank reports market access is crucial for developing countries in the Doha Development Round. Negotiations are at a critical point and dependent on developments in the coming weeks. Mr. Mandelson's comments were not helpful and I would urge him to focus on the immediate task at hand."
-- Saxby Chambliss, Chairman Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee

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