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Friday, May 16, 2008
A DECISION by the US House of Representatives to pass a Farm Bill, worth $307 billion (€198bn) over the next five years, is a strong statement that US policymakers are putting their country’s interests first, the Irish Farmers Association said yesterday.
IFA president Padraig Walshe said this is in contrast to the hostile attitude of EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who he says is insisting on selling out Irish and EU agriculture in the world trade talks, to the detriment of both Irish farmers and consumers.
Warning he will veto the bill if it gets to his desk, President Bush said it has at least $10bn (€6.4b) in hidden spending, subsidises millionaire farmers and contradicts the free-market reforms the US seeks in world trade talks.
The IFA has insisted farmers here are as justified in seeking the use of the government veto to stop the proposed world trade deal, as the business community did to copper-fasten the 12.5% corporation tax rate.
Mr Walshe said the with the current economic downturn, the country could not afford the loss of jobs in rural towns, should the proposals be agreed.
Fifty thousand farmers would be unviable as a result of handing over a large segment of the food chain to South American ranchers, he said.
Mr Walshe again called on the Government to make a statement of its commitment to veto the cuts proposed by Mr Mandelson.
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