WASHINGTON — Congressional lawmakers unveiled a $300 billion farm bill compromise on Thursday that has trade implications for the apparel and textile industry.
The measure includes provisions that run counter to the Bush administration's goal of completing the Doha Round of global trade talks this year.
The bill, which funds farm, food stamp, nutrition and conservation programs for five years, also conflicts with the objectives of the World Trade Organization negotiations because it would continue subsidies for U.S. farmers. The subsidies have been a major roadblock for more than six years in the discussions aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs and subsidies.
President Bush criticized the bill last week, saying it would "fail to eliminate subsidy payments to multimillionaire farmers." Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer reiterated Thursday that Bush would veto the bill.
The legislation is expected to go to the House and Senate for a vote next week, setting the stage for a confrontation with the White House. However, some lawmakers are confident they will have enough votes to override a Bush veto. The bill is politically popular among both Republicans and Democrats because it maintains billions of dollars in subsidized farm programs, but also includes food stamp and nutrition funding, as well as some trade-related provisions.
The Bush administration and Congress appear to be working at cross purposes on agriculture subsidies. The U.S. has been under pressure from the European Union and developing countries to slash domestic agriculture subsidies, particularly for cotton, in the global trade talks. Although the U.S. has signaled it is prepared to reduce certain subsidies, negotiators have been unable to break the stalemate between rich and poor countries over the subsidies.
The legislation puts further stress on the global negotiations.
House and Senate agriculture negotiators, addressing the controversy during a news conference, stressed the multipurpose aspect of the bill. Rep. Collin Peterson (D., Minn.), chairman of the House Agriculture committee, said only $36 billion to $40 billion of the $300 billion would go to farmers.
"The rest, the majority, goes to nutrition and a good chunk goes to conservation," he said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) said, "We moved as far as we could [toward] the administration on their requests."Included in the bill is a two-year extension of a trade preference program for Caribbean countries and an increase in benefits for Haiti, which has been struggling with a severe food crisis and riots.
Julia Hughes, senior vice president of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel, said importers are supportive of the trade benefits for Haiti, but are concerned that the rules for producing there are still too complex, which has kept companies from placing more production there under an existing trade program.
Textile industry groups gave tacit support to the bill, which provides some benefits for mills.
"We have no objection to the extension [for Caribbean countries]," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. "We were concerned about the Haiti provisions, but at the same time no one wanted to give the impression we are steadfastly opposed to a program designed to assist the poorest economy in our hemisphere."
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)