A joint delegation of U.S. Grains Council and National Corn Growers Association officials traveled to Geneva last week to meet with negotiators and ambassadors from the United States and other countries.

The delegation also met with World Trade Organization (WTO) leadership, including Director General Pascal Lamy, to discuss the direction of the Doha trade talks and express corn, barley and sorghum trade priorities and concerns.

The group was also joined by representatives from U.S. Wheat Associates who have similar concerns regarding the outcome of the round. 

Despite the negative outlook on the fate of the Doha round, the timing of the trip was critical in sending a strong signal that the U.S. grain industry supports a successful conclusion of the round that balances domestic support reductions with significant new market access opportunities, particularly in developing countries.   

“Our goal was to determine the direction the Doha round is headed and to express our concerns about grain industry priorities,” said Chip Councell, USGC Advisory Team leader and delegate for Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board. “The U.S. grain industry must keep working with U.S. negotiators to focus on new agricultural market access.”

However, in meetings with U.S. negotiators and delegates from China, Brazil, Japan, the European Union and Ambassador David Walker, chair of the agricultural negotiations, it is clear that significant gaps remain between the level of U.S. ambition on new market access and offers from developing countries such as China and India.