233. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Trade Policy Committee (Dent) to the Trade Policy Committee1


  • Agricultural Organization in the MTN

The Trade Policy Committee met on April 11, 1975 to discuss two difficult problems that had been preventing progress on agricultural issues in Geneva and had prevented work on grains from going forward in London.2 I am pleased to report to you that on May 8, the MTN Agriculture Group adopted a decision in this area, that allows these negotiations to move forward, consistent with our objectives.3

The text was worked out through weeks of effort by Secretary Butz and myself, and members of our staffs, and representatives of other countries and the European Economic Community. It is a compromise that depends on further goodwill for its implementation. Its significance is that it does recognize that the Tariff and Non-Tariff Measures Groups have the competence to evolve general rules which can govern industrial and agricultural products alike. This will strengthen our hand in keeping agriculture from being isolated.

Furthermore, the text recognizes that the agricultural aspects of general rules, when they are dealt with by the Agriculture Group will be undertaken in conjunction with the work of Tariffs and Non-Tariffs Measures Groups. This folding back in of the work on the agriculture side is in direct furtherance of the negotiating objectives contained in Section 103 of the Trade Act.

A copy of the text is attached.

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May 8, 1975 Text of Summing-Up by the Chairman of the Agriculture Group

1. The Group met from 24 to 27 March, from 15 to 17 April and 8 May 1975 and took the following decisions. The Group agreed that the Group should be chaired by the Secretariat. It invited the Secretary General of UNCTAD or his representative to attend this session of the Group as an observer.

2. The Group agreed that it would treat Tariff and Non-Tariff Measures relating to agricultural products. It was noted that matters of a global nature including Tariff and Non-Tariff Measures affecting agriculture would be taken up in a number of contexts within the overall framework of these negotiations. In such cases, the Group and its Subgroups will concern themselves with the agricultural aspects of these matters and will treat them in conjunction with the work of the Tariffs and Non-Tariffs Measures Groups and the results of this work will be communicated to other Groups concerned with a view to arriving at the harmonious and balanced development of all the elements subject to negotiation in furtherance of Paragraph Number 8 of the Tokyo Declaration.

3. There have been discussions of whether it was necessary to create Sub-groups on some tariffs or non-tariff measures and the Group has agreed to come back later to this question.

4. The Group agreed that some agricultural products which represented a large share in world trade and were widely traded might lend themselves to multilateral solutions. With this in view it agreed to address itself initially to grains, dairy products and meat. It was understood that other products might be added at a later stage.

5. The Group agreed to establish negotiating Sub-groups, dealing with all the elements relevant to trade in these products, for the following sectors:

Grains. It was understood that governments participating in the Multilateral Trade Negotiations which were also participating in the work recently started in the framework of the International Wheat Council would continue actively to pursue that work also. At the appropriate time, the Sub-group shall consider how best to integrate into its work any results of the work at present going on in the International Wheat Council.
Dairy products.
Meat (including live animals).

6. The Group agreed the above Sub-groups would themselves organize their work.

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7. The Group emphasized the importance of the application of differential measures to developing countries in ways which will provide special and more favorable treatment for them, especially in the agricultural negotiations, in accordance with the principles and objectives embodied in the Tokyo Declaration.

8. The Group agreed that the Sub-groups below should hold their first meeting on:

—Sub-group on grains May 26
—Sub-group on meat June 16
—Sub-group on dairy products June 23

  1. Source: Ford Library, L. William Seidman Papers, Box 38, Economic Policy Board Subject File, Agriculture—Multinational Trade Negotiations. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 231.
  3. Telegram 3369 from USDel MTN Geneva, May 9, reported on the meeting. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)