WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steps to increase international trade were on the list of actions favored by rice industry groups in recent testimony before a House committee hearing on the status of international trade negotiations.

Dan Gertson, vice chairman of the U.S. Rice Producers Association, and Bryan Moery of the USA Rice Federation testified about the need for:

• The eventual elimination of tariffs and export subsidies.

• Further trade liberalization through the approval of CAFTA.

• Aggressive action in the Doha round of WTO negotiations.

• The opening up of market access in formerly sanctioned countries like Cuba and Iran.

• The need for an industry/U.S. government partnership to restore the U.S. rice market in Iraq.

Gertson and Moery commended efforts thus far by both the House Agriculture Committee and the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative and Department of Agriculture to expand market access overseas, but they also stressed that “administration negotiators will have to show real, measurable progress in bringing home market access gains before our producers and processors can seriously consider any reduction in U.S. programs.”