5:03 PM EDT
Thomas Ewing, R-IL 15th

Mr. EWING. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I reluctantly rise to oppose this amendment by my colleague. While I am sure it is well intended, it is like some of the other amendments we often get but, fortunately, this year have not gotten on this bill dealing with important crops like peanuts, sugar, and tobacco. But let me speak to the MAP, the Market Access Program.

The United States is outspent more than 20 to 1 by our foreign competitors spending money on export promotion and export subsidies. In 1997, the leading U.S. competitors spent $924 million to promote agricultural exports, much of it in this country, and the United States spends $90 million. Ninety million dollars spent by the United States compared to $924 million by our competitors.

There is no limit placed on the amount that can be spent by exporting countries for agricultural promotion. The WTO does not limit that. And right now, while the U.S. has diminished the amount they have spent, other countries in the world are expanding the amount that they are spending to promote their products in this country and other places in the world.

Foreign spending in the U.S. on promoting our competitors' agriculture is growing. A hundred million was spent in 1997 for that purpose. That much more. The biggest spenders are New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Australia and Canada.

The U.S. exports have gone down over the past 3 years. This is not the time when we should be cutting the funds necessary to promote our exports. SUDA estimates that agricultural exports will be only $49 billion this year. Just 3 years ago they were $60 billion. We have serious problems in American agriculture. The way to address them is not to cut the promotional funds needed to make us competitive around the world, and I reluctantly would rise and ask my colleagues to oppose this amendment.