Senator Charles Grassley says American farm goods are poised for sale in many new markets with the deal U.S. trade negotiators offered yesterday (Monday) to the rest of the world. Bush Administration officials are promising to get rid of some farm payments if other countries lower tariffs that essentially close many foreign markets to U.S. agricultural commodities.

“Iowa farmers as I know them want to get their money from the marketplace and not get it from a government check,” Grassley says. “The only way we can do that is to reduce the 62 percent average tariff worldwide that we have on agricultural products coming from the United States.”

Grassley is chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which will review the trade deal. Grassley says the U.S. has made a “bold” proposal and it’s time for trading partners, especially the Europeans and Japanese, to respond in a “bold” and “ambitious” way to ease their restrictions on U.S. imports.
“So the ball now passes, because of our action yesterday, to our trading partners’ court,” Grassley says. According to Grassley, the offer made by the Bush Administration would not end all farm subsidies.

The proposal would end “loan deficiency payments” to farmers which Grassley says tend to encourage over-production. Payments to U.S. farmers who engage in certain conservation measures would continue.