U.S. negotiators this week announced a new offer of a $15 billion cap in the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks on the broadest level of U.S. farm supports called overall trade distorting support or OTDS, according to a report from USA Rice Federation.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab conditioned the new offer on achieving a meaningful package of agriculture market access gains from other WTO members, especially from advanced developing countries such as India, Brazil and China.
This is the third such reduction in the OTDS level offered by the U.S. since 2005.
The latest series of negotiations formally began July 21 in Geneva, when 30 trade ministers met for discussions, which are are designed to achieve an agreement on modalities or a framework for negotiating specific tariff cuts and other forms of market access.
Several U.S. farm groups are represented, including USA Rice Federation. California producer Michael Rue and USA Rice Senior VP Bob Cummings are participating in daily briefings and discussions with U.S. negotiators.
USA Rice is reviewing the latest U.S. offer, but remains firm that any agreement on modalities must contain meaningful and measurable improvements in access for U.S. rice in exchange for cuts in domestic farm programs.