05 September 1997
NFU meets US agriculture officials

By FWi staff

NATIONAL Farmers Union president Sir David Naish met United States agricultural officials this week to discuss the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and forthcoming the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks.

Sir David led an NFU delegation consisting of director-general Richard Macdonald and head of international economics and strategic affairs, Martin Howarth. During the three-day visit, the delegation met US secretary of agriculture Dan Glickman and other top industry officials.

Sir David said the discussions revolved around agricultural policy on both sides of the Atlantic, including the 1996 Farm Act in the USA and Agenda 2000 proposals for CAP reform in Europe.

“We also explored with the Americans the vital question of how the next round of negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will impact on agricultural policy.”

Much of the discussions concerned current trade issues between Europe and the US, particularly genetically-modified organisms and hormone-treated meat.

Sir David said: “We explained to the Americans that we wanted a trading system founded on the clear rules based on science. There will be no benefit in freer trade if customers do not trust the products which are offered to them”.

“We found that there was much misunderstanding of the extent of consumer concerns in Europe. We hope we were able to convince the Americans that Europes motivation in many of these trade difficulties is not protectionism but a genuine desire to maintain consumer confidence,” he said.