FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Phillip Hayes
August 8, 2012 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
No Additional Sugar Access for Australia in TPP
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho—Even though Australia entered into a 2005 trade agreement with the United States that excluded sugar, Australia has lobbied to renegotiate its U.S. sugar market access as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The United States is not negotiating tariffs with countries with which it has an FTA that is still in the process of being implemented, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Sharon Bomer said yesterday at the 29th International Sweetener Symposium.
“There is no intention at this time to be negotiating any further with Australia on market access tariff issues,” she told the group, which responded to the news with applause.
Bomer, who was responsible for negotiating the agricultural provisions of the 2005 trade deal with Australia, noted sensitivities surrounding sugar imports and said the Administration is “completely aware of the necessary balance needed in U.S. trade policy for American sugar producers.”
In addition to Australia, Bomer explained that another TPP participant, Vietnam, could have significant sugar production capability in the future, and Malaysia is a minor producer.
“Our negotiating team has consulted extensively with American Sugar Alliance representatives on TPP market access issues,” she explained, “and we will continue to have conversations with the sugar industry as these negotiations move forward.”
Bomer also discussed recent trade deals with Colombia and Panama, possible Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia, and the stalled Doha World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.
“Gaps in Doha remain very wide,” she said, noting, “The business-as-usual approach over the past 10 or 11 years has not worked and will not work going forward.” A new approach must be crafted and common efforts by all WTO members—particularly large, developing nations like Brazil and India—are needed to make progress, Bomer told Symposium attendees.
Answering a question about possible U.S. sugar market access commitments in future trade deals, Bomer stated: “We’re very cautious of what we negotiate in these agreements, and we work very closely with USDA to make sure that any commitments that are made will not have a negative impact on the sugar program.”
Audio & Video