GENEVA, OCT. 11 -- U.S. farm leaders said today that they cannot accept any agreement at free-trade talks that excludes deep cuts in European Community agricultural export subsidies.
An EC offer to cut farm export subsidies by 30 percent -- if the 12 nations at the talks can agree on even that figure next week -- would be "completely unacceptable," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Dean Kleckner.
After two days of meetings with leading delegations to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade talks, Kleckner said he was "deeply disappointed" at the EC position.
Next week, Washington will propose a 90 percent reduction in EC export subsidies while offering to reduce U.S. farm supports by 70 percent to 75 percent, Kleckner said.
A compromise would be unacceptable to U.S. farmers, he said, because the EC would base a 30 percent cut over a 10-year period counting from 1986, meaning most of the reduction would have already occurred.
Kleckner said the Farm Bureau Federation's 3.8 million U.S. members support the U.S. government position that deep export subsidy cuts must be part of any agricultural accord, and that an overall agreement must include agriculture.
"No agreement is better than a bad agreement," he told a news conference.
When Kleckner was asked about Japan's demand that its rice market be exempt from a farm deal, he said that the Japanese rice market "is not a matter of life or death for American farmers," but should be included as a matter of principle.
The Uruguay Round of talks, which began in 1986, is seriously threatened just seven weeks before its scheduled conclusion by two road blocks. One is the split between the United States and the EC on farm trade. The other is a north-south dispute on trade in textiles and in services such as banking.