RECESS DELAYS TRADE BILL ACCORD

RECESS DELAYS TRADE BILL ACCORD

Most House of Representative conferees working on the farm portion of the omnibus trade bill have agreed to the latest Senate proposal on countering foreign grain subsidies, but the compromise will not become final until the Easter recess ends Monday, congressional staff sources said.

Fine tuning of a plank on alternative agricultural research remains a sticking point between the House and Senate sides, the sources said. Since the work can be done at the staff level, it is possible the ultimate agreement can be reached without another formal meeting of the farm trade subconference, the sources said.The subconference blended together elements of the Senate trade bill's plan for triggered marketing loans beginning in 1990, and a House counterproposal to expand the export bonus program by an additional $2 billion over 1990-92.

Under the agreement, marketing loans would go into effect for wheat, feed grain and oilseeds in 1990 if there is no substantial progress in talks to lower farm subsidies under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The president may circumvent the marketing loans, which allow farmers to repay price support loans at market-clearing levels, if they would harm further negotiations.

At that point, an export bonus expansion would be set into motion for 1991 and 1992. However, again the administration could avoid the expansion if it would be a substantial impediment to a GATT pact.

House Agriculture Committee staff circulated the proposal to House conferees last Friday and Monday.