Amadeusz Juskowiak

Us wheat bonus to soviet called dormant

The US Agriculture Department is not actively considering offering subsidized wheat to the Soviet Union under the export enhancement program EEP senior USDA officials said

However grain trade analysts said the proposal has not been ruled out and that an offer might be made though not in the very near future

The grain companies are trying to get this fired up again an aide to Agriculture Secretary Richard Lyng said But there just isnt much talk about it informally or formally

Most analysts interviewed by Reuters were more confident than USDA officials that bonus wheat would be offered to the Soviets even though US officials did not make such an offer when they held grain talks with Soviet counterparts earlier this week

But administration and private sources agreed that if the Reagan administration did decide to offer subsidized wheat to Moscow it could take several months

I just dont see any proposal like that sailing through any interagency process the aide to Lyng said

An export enhancement offer is not consummated overnight said one former USDA official who noted that the administration took three months to decide in favor of selling China wheat under the subsidy program

An official representing a large grain trade company said deliberations within USDA might be nudged along by members of Congress a number of whom urged USDA this week to make a wheat subsidy offer to the Soviets

But Lyngs aide said that during a daylong visit to Capitol Hill yesterday House members did not press the secretary on the subsidy question a single time

The administrations interagency trade policy review group comprised of subcabinetlevel officials has not been asked to clear a request to offer Moscow wheat under the EEP officials at the US Trade Representatives Office said

In their talks this week the two sides discussed the administrations previous EEP offer but did not talk about any new initiative One USDA official who took part in the consultations this week described them as an exchange of calm basic factual economics

Another USDA official said there was not even an informal suggestion or hint that the Soviets would live up to their pledge to buy four mln tonnes of wheat this year if they were granted more favorable terms

USDA and private sources agreed that consideration of an EEP initiative by interagency review groups likely would be delayed because of disarray within the White House stemming from the Iran arms affair