226. Memorandum From the Executive Director of the Economic Policy Board (Seidman) to the Executive Committee of the Economic Policy Board1
- Negotiations on Agriculture in the Multilateral Trade Negotiations
Before the Multilateral Trade Negotiations can proceed, an issue that must be resolved is the format for conducting agricultural discussions. There is disagreement among U.S. agencies on the substantive importance of the procedural issue and over the degree of flexibility U.S. negotiators should have in resolving the issue with the European Community.
The position of the European Community has been to maintain an independent focus in agricultural policy negotiations, but they are prepared to meet before February 10 in an attempt to work out an acceptable compromise. Lack of flexibility in the U.S. position would threaten to deadlock negotiations.
From the U.S. point of view, avoidance of a sectoral emphasis in negotiations is important in view of the language of the Trade Bill, a possible adverse reaction by the American farm community, and the unfavorable negotiating position of the U.S. if agricultural issues are not considered together with industrial issues.
- —An options paper on the issue is attached in Tab A.
- —Discussion of the issue by STR and Agriculture and letters from the State, Agriculture, and Commerce Departments are attached in Tab B.2
- —STR and Commerce favor option 4.
- —Agriculture favors option 3.
- —The State Department favors seeking a compromise solution with either
of the following acceptable:
- Agreement to accept whatever compromise is possible, or
- Reserve the right to judge the acceptability of the compromise achieved.
- Source: Ford Library, L. William Seidman Papers, Box 77, Economic Policy Board Subject File, Multinational Trade Negotiations (1). No classification marking.↩
- Tab B, attached but not printed, includes an undated memorandum from Malmgren to the EPB Executive Committee; a January 30 memorandum from Butz to Simon and Seidman enclosing an undated paper entitled “USDA Comments on the STR Options Paper on Negotiations on Agriculture in the MTN” and a revised options paper, January 30, entitled “Options Paper Favored by USDA”; an undated memorandum from Robinson to Seidman; and a January 31 letter from Dent to the President.↩
- According to Document 225, this paper was prepared in the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations and the Department of Agriculture.↩
- Brackets are in the original.↩
- On February 6, the EPB Executive Committee discussed this options paper and decided “that a confrontation with the Europeans should be avoided and that Ambassador Malmgren should seek a compromise with the Europeans as close as possible to option 3. Whatever compromise is reached must be cleared with the EPB.” (Minutes of the Economic Policy Board Executive Committee Meeting, February 6; Ford Library, U.S. Council of Economic Advisers Records, Alan Greenspan Files, Box 57, Economic Policy Board Meetings, EPB—Feb 1975 (1))↩