By FWi staff

AMERICA will be unable to adopt the moral high ground when it comes to agriculture negotiations during the current round of world trade talks, according to Peter Kurz, agricultural minister-counsellor at the US Embassy in London.

“Because of the changes made to subsidies in US agriculture since the last world trade agreement, we are no longer in a position to take the ideological standpoint that they can in Australia and New Zealand,” said Mr Kurz.

Speaking at an Institute of Management agri-food policy conference at Thainstone, Aberdeen, he said: “In this WTO round the USA and EU are probably starting off with much more in common than we had in the past.”

EU agricultural policy was a topic of critical importance to American farmers, and vice versa.

“When it comes to trade in agriculture, we are each others largest customers as well as suppliers – with a trade worth $20 billion (14bn) a year,” Mr Kurz said.

“If we cannot agree rules for trading with each other, and for supporting our farmers, we will only be hurting ourselves.

“Equally bad, if we cannot resolve our own differences, we will fail to set an example for developing countries, with the result that we will not be able to look to them for vital new markets in the years to come.”