Amadeusz Juskowiak

Yeutter blasts proposed ec oils and fats tax

US trade representative Clayton Yeutter today said that if the European Communitys Council of Ministers approves a tax on vegetable oils and fats another major transatlantic trade row will erupt over agriculture

In a statement issued by the trade representatives office following a speech to the American Soybean Associations board of directors Yeutter said the proposed tax would have a severe impact on American soybean farmers who export some 24 billion dlrs in soybeans and products annually to the EC

This is an unacceptable situation for us and its vegetable oils tax enactment would leave us no choice but to vigorously protect our trade rights and defend our access to the European market Yeutter said

Yeutter said the proposed vegetable oils tax would violate EC obligations under the GATT

He said the effect of the tax would be to double the price of soyoil produced from imported soybeans making margarine made from soyoil more expensive than tallowbased margarine and closer in price to expensive European butter

I am astonished that the EC commission would propose such a provocative measure so soon after we successfully resolved the agricultural dispute over the enlargement of the EC to include Spain and Portugal Yeutter said

It serves no purpose to embark on another confrontational course before the recent wounds have healed and as we are beginning to make progress on the Uruaguay round of global trade talks he said