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Chambliss urges GSP review

The Bush administration should review the eligibility criteria for the Generalized System of Preferences to make sure countries that threaten litigation against U.S. farm programs are not rewarded with special trade benefits.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, says countries like India and Brazil should not be at the top of the list for the GSP when they are among the foremost critics of U.S. farm policy.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Schwab, Chambliss urged the Bush administration, which currently is reviewing the GSP scheduled to expire Dec. 31, to administer the program in a manner consistent with the original objectives of providing temporary assistance to developing countries.

He cited data which indicates India and Brazil are the first and third largest beneficiaries under the GSP even though they are “competitive in agriculture export markets and are strong competitors in the international marketplace.

“We should ensure that duty-free access to U.S. markets is provided to countries that need assistance rather than rewarding advanced developing countries who threaten litigation, work against negotiators and disregard US intellectual property rights,” he said.

The administration should “review the current criteria for program participation and consider revising them to differentiate and exclude advanced, developing countries like Brazil and India.”

Brazil has been involved in a lengthy WTO case in which it sought damages from the United States after it claimed its farmers were harmed by the U.S. cotton program. India has been one of the leading critics of U.S. farm programs in the WTO’s Doha Round negotiations.

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