AGRICULTURE TO BE CORNERSTONE OF TRADE NEGOTIATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This morning members of the House Agriculture Committee met with Secretary Veneman, Secretary Evans and Ambassador Zoellick, regarding agricultural trade issues, specifically the ongoing WTO negotiations as well as free trade agreement negotiations between the United States and Singapore and
the United States and Chile.
Following the meeting, Goodlatte said, "A vibrant trade policy is important to American farmers and ranchers. The Committee intends to pay close attention to trade and all of its ramifications for U.S. agriculture. We need to make sure that in future trade negotiations and current trade relationships, agriculture is, as President Bush said in a speech before the Future Farmers of America, "the cornerstone of our international trade negotiations.'"
During the meeting the three cabinet officials and Committee Members also discussed the World Trade Organization farm talks, the benefits to U.S. agriculture in potential free trade agreements, and the status of biotechnology in relation to U.S. agricultural exports.
"Secretaries Veneman and Evans, and Ambassador Zoellick assured committee members that agriculture was of utmost importance to President Bush, and would be paramount in any current or future trade negotiations," Chairman Goodlatte said. "It was a productive meeting and I look forward to working with the administration to further ensure that the agriculture community has a prominent place at the table when it comes to forming our national trade policy."