Update on Economic, Energy, Farm and Trade Policy Issues

March 23, 2009 07:00 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

TOPICS: ACRE * FY 2010 budget * RFS ethanol blend * WTO/Doha

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

-- ACRE sign up: USDA sources say that the dates for signing up for the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program will be announced soon. And, some sources signal the current June 1 sign up deadline could be extended.

-- FY 2010 budget/resolution: Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) will soon detail a five-year budget resolution. On Monday, Conrad said he has asked all committees in the Senate for savings -- including the Agriculture panel.

-- RFS ethanol blend percentage: Sources continue to signal that EPA will eventually approve a boost in the maximum ethanol blend percentage for non-flex fuel vehicles from the current 10 percent to either 12 or 13 percent. Likely timeline: "by the end of this summer," one source said.

-- U.S. business and ag leaders to meet today with WTO's Lamy: World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy will meet today with US business and agriculture leaders and will tell the outgoing WTO official that they will oppose the resumption of the Doha Round of WTO trade talks on the basis of the negotiating texts that were on the table late last year. “We want him to find a way forward that has greater balance and ambition,” said Frank Vargo, vice president for international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). “What was on the table in December was not going to get us there and was not acceptable to the previous administration.” Vargo said that industry representatives have discussed their concerns over the direction of the talks in meetings with the Obama administration, and “there is no daylight between our position and theirs.” Director-General Lamy “absolutely has to focus on this and get the advanced developing countries in particular to agree to provide more market access and contribute more to new global trade flows,” Vargo said. Lamy is in Washington, D.C., for meetings with administration officials, including US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, members of Congress, and representatives of the private sector.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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