INTERNATIONAL GRAINS AGREEMENT, 1995Senate Consideration of Treaty Document 105-4
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[Senate Treaty Document 105-4] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] 105th Congress Treaty Doc. SENATE 1st Session 105-4 _______________________________________________________________________ INTERNATIONAL GRAINS AGREEMENT, 1995 __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting THE GRAINS TRADE CONVENTION AND FOOD AID CONVENTION CONSTITUTING THE INTERNATIONAL GRAINS AGREEMENT, 1995 SIGNED BY THE UNITED STATES ON JUNE 26, 1995. April 7, 1997.--Agreement was read the first time and, together with the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- The White House, April 7, 1997. To the Senate of the United States: With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Grains Trade Convention and Food Aid Convention constituting the International Grains Agreement, 1995, open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, from May 1 through June 30, 1995. The Conventions were signed by the United States on June 26, 1995. I transmit also for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Conventions. The Grains Trade Convention, 1995, replaces the Wheat Trade Convention, 1986, and maintains the framework for international cooperation in grains trade matters. It also continues the existence of the International Grains Council. The Food Aid Convention, 1995, replaces the Food Aid Convention, 1986, and renews commitments of donor member states to provide minimum annual quantities of food aid to developing countries. The International Grains Council and the Food Aid Committee granted the United States (and other countries) a 1-year extension of time in which to deposit its instruments of ratification, and have permitted the United States in the meantime to continue to participate in the organizations. It is my hope that the Senate will give prompt and favorable consideration to the two Conventions, and give its advice and consent to ratification so that ratification by the United States can be effected and instruments of ratification deposited at the earliest possible date. William J. Clinton. LETTER OF SUBMITTAL ---------- Department of State, Washington, July 3, 1996. The President, The White House. The President: I have the honor to submit to you, with a view to transmission to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification, the Grains Trade Convention and Food Aid Convention constituting the International Grains Agreement, 1995. The Conventions were open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, from May 1 through June 30, 1995. They were signed for the United States on June 26, 1995. The International Grains Agreement consists of two legal instruments: the Grains Trade Convention, 1995, and the Food Aid Convention, 1995. The Conventions were adopted at meetings of the International Wheat Council and Food Aid Committee at London on December 7 and 5, 1994, respectively. They entered into force on July 1, 1995. The Conventions will remain in force until June 30, 1998. The Grains Trade Convention, 1995, replaces the Wheat Trade Convention, 1986. The Food Aid Convention, 1995, replaces the Food Aid Convention, 1986. From December 1993 to December 1994, the United States and other governments party to these Conventions engaged in negotiations to draft the new texts of both of these Conventions in a manner that would, inter alia, redistribute voting rights and assessments to reflect more accurately changing patterns of world trade. The Grains Trade Convention, 1995, is designed to reinforce international cooperation in grain matters between exporting and importing members, serving as a forum for the discussion on a regular basis of world grain matters. The Convention contains no economic provisions placing strictures on parties regarding pricing or marketing, a position strongly supported by the U.S. Government. A major purpose of the Grains Trade Convention is to continue to collect, analyze and disseminate information on market conditions and on developments concerning the improvement and expansion of trade, utilization, and storage and transportation of grain, especially in developing countries. The Grains Trade Convention improves upon the Wheat Trade Convention by strengthening its informational activities. For example, the scope of the new Convention has been broadened to permit increased attention to grains other than wheat (i.e., barley, maize, millet, oats, rye and sorghum). Such a change benefits the United States because the United States has relied heavily on the information generated regarding wheat and it now finds similar information on other grains very useful. The Food Aid Convention, 1995, continues the commitment of the donor member states to provide minimum annual quantities of food assistance in the form of edible grain--principallywheat, rice and coarse grains--and provides an international forum for overseeing food assistance. The Convention commits the United States to donate or sell on concessional terms at least 2.5 million metric tons of food aid annually. This figure represents a significant reduction from the U.S. commitment of 4.47 million metric tons in the Food Aid Convention, 1986, due to current and anticipated U.S. budget cuts during the Convention's three-year duration. The contributions of the United States under this Convention are made up of commodities sold or donated under the Agriculture Trade and Development Act of 1954, as amended (``P.L. 480'') or through other bilateral aid programs. The amount of the new U.S. food aid commitment is within the current level of authorized food aid programs. The Food Aid Convention ensures burden-sharing among food aid donors. A floor for food aid assistance of 7.6 million metric tons per year has been established, over the three-year term of the Convention. While the basic principles and objectives of the Food Aid Convention, 1995, have not changed from those of the Food Aid Convention, 1986, there are several innovations in the new Convention, including: the list of grains whose supply as food aid is permissible has been broadened to include grain legumes and beans; the formula under which contributions of foods other than wheat can be evaluated in terms of their ``wheat equivalents'' is more flexible, reflecting long-term changes in the export price relationship between wheat and such other foods as rice. These changes are beneficial because they encourage new donors to provide additional food aid. Consistent with the informational and forum role of the new International Grains Agreement, and in order to encourage participation and continuity of activities, the new texts provide for future extensions of up to two years. The International Grains Council and the Food Aid Committee have granted the United States (and other countries) an extension until June 30, 1996, to deposit instruments of ratification to become a party to these Conventions. The Council and Committee are expected to make decisions allowing for a further extension. The Secretary of Agriculture joins me in recommending that these Conventions be transmitted to the Senate for its early and favorable consideration. Respectfully submitted, Strobe Talbott. Enclosure: As stated.