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ACGA on Australia trade agreement: 'Expands government protection for corporations at expense of farm families'

(Monday, July 19, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:
Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers (ACGA) expressed his dissatisfaction with the ratification by Congress of the U.S. bilateral trade agreement with Australia.

"The measure fails to provide adequate measures to safeguard America's dairy farmers and livestock producers from increased imports of products already in surplus in the U.S.," stated Dittrich. "The result will be increased negative economic pressure on the entire production agriculture sector of the U.S., which is already in dire financial turmoil. As corn growers, we have vested interest in the U.S. livestock sector since it is our largest customer."

"This agreement is yet another example of expanding government protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for U.S. corporations at the expense of U.S. farm and ranch families," added Dittrich. "This agreement extends the long arm of U.S. patent and copyright laws to protect the millionaires of Hollywood, Nashville, the Silicon Valley as well as the drug and chemical companies, while leaving our farmers hanging in the unpredictable wind of international commodity markets."

ACGA's rank and file passed a Special Order of Business on Trade Agreements at its twelfth annual convention this year, which states:

  • The ACGA recognizes that current and proposed free trade agreements enhance the multinational corporations' ability to exploit natural resources and production labor around the world at the expense of workers and traditional industry in the U.S., including family farmers.
  • We recognize that beef, dairy, and other livestock and other agricultural sectors will meet the same fate that the U.S. textile industry has if the proposed free trade agreements pass, and the continuing attrition among American vegetable and fruit producers caused by already existing free trade agreements will only accelerate.
  • We also recognize that one of the major concessions the U.S. government wants other countries to make in return for greater access to U.S. farm product markets is that they impose U.S.-like Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection. We see the government's hypocrisy in promoting free trade on one hand and promoting more restricted trade on items covered by IPRs on the other hand.
  • ACGA will oppose any trade agreements, such as the U.S./Australian Trade Agreement, The Central American Free-Trade Area (CAFTA), the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), or any other trade agreement which advance other sectors of the U.S. economy at the expense of U.S. farm families.
  • ACGA also calls for the government to take measures to bring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the most liberal and abused in the world, under control. We also call for a review of the powers that Intellectual Property Rights grant, being the broadest and most liberally interpreted in the world, in order to enhance competition and provide Americans with more competitively priced pharmaceuticals.

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org