26 March 1999
USA threatens tough line on trade

THE European Union is operating a trade regime on agriculture described as “a ticking timebomb” by a senior US trade official.

Thomas Hamby, minister-counsellor for agricultural affairs at the US embassy, hit out at both trade and non-trade barriers operated by Europe.

He said Europe accounted for 83.5% of world agricultural export subsidy payments, against only 1.4% paid by the US government.

He pointed out this was in addition to the £20 billion-plus paid in production subsidies to European farmers.

Mr Hamby was speaking at an Agenda 2000 conference staged by the farm consultancy Axient.

The official said genetically modified food would eventually become widely accepted.