Farm Bureaucrats Take New Look at GATT

A NEW worldwide trade agreement will take several years to start paying off for grain and livestock producers in the United States, according to the Department of Agriculture. But after that, the gains will rise rapidly, the department said in an analysis of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade deal.

The new GATT agreement, reached last December, is supposed to open overseas markets to US farm goods and force all countries to reduce their export subsidies. The Clinton administration hopes to have the treaty ratified and in place by Jan. 1, 1995. Subsidy reductions will first depress world grain markets, and the European Union will sell surpluses of wheat, hurting US markets. But after that, exports will expand rapidly, the report said.

By 2005, farm exports could be as much as $8.7 billion higher than they would have been without the agreement, the department said. Grains and animal products will account for almost three-quarters of the increase.

``It means increased income for producers and increased job opportunities for all Americans,'' Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy said. Exports could add 190,000 jobs in the food industry and cut government farm payments by $2.6 billion in 2005. Mr. Espy and Trade Representative Mickey Kantor outlined the terms of the agreement to the House Agriculture Committee. ``We were able to create a level playing field in order that US agriculture could benefit all over the world,'' Mr. Kantor said.

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