TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP BLASTS CLINTON ADMINISTRATION’S PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT OF PEANUTS

For Immediate Release   
   

 

(Washington,D.C.) ¾ In testimony presented to a House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on the status of U.S. efforts to reduce barriers to trade in agriculture, John Frydenlund, Food and Agricultural Policy Fellow for the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), condemned President Clinton’s suggestion that peanuts should be provided preferential treatment in future trade agreements.

     Frydenlund testified on behalf of the American Peanut Coalition, a coalition of associations representing taxpayer, consumer, public interest, manufacturer, union, distributor and retailer organizations who believe that U.S. agricultural growth and prosperity will only come from competitiveness in the international marketplace.

Frydenlund criticized President Clinton’s proposal to give preferential treatment to peanuts in future trade agreements in return for support on fast track as “a further example of peanut quota holders receiving special protection at the expense of the remainder of American agriculture” and called on Congress to make sure that peanuts are on the table in the next round of negotiations.

Arguing that future trade agreements should provide the same treatment for peanuts that has been afforded to virtually every other agricultural commodity, Frydenlund warned that “if trade in peanuts and peanut products is not significantly liberalized, you can expect the demise of the U.S. peanut industry as well as the undermining of future trade opportunities for the rest of U.S. agriculture.”

“The U.S. peanut program is a glaring example of inconsistency with well-established agricultural trade policy and principles supporting fair and free trade.  In a new era of U.S. agriculture, where almost every food commodity is produced and exported competitively in the world market, peanuts and sugar stand out as completely contrary to the objectives of the rest of agriculture,” Frydenlund added.

According to Frydenlund, the federal peanut program, which allows only farmers who own or lease a production quota to grow peanuts, escaped meaningful reform in both the Uruguay Round and the 1996 Farm Bill, forces consumers to spend an extra $500 million annually, and “gives other countries a basis to deny access to U.S. agricultural commodities.”

CCAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 600,000-member organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency and mismanagement in the federal government. 

 

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