Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on a United States-Soviet Union Grain Sales Agreement

July 28, 1983

Ambassador William E. Brock, U.S. Trade Representative, and Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block announced today that the United States and the U.S.S.R. have reached agreement in principle on a new Long-Term Grain Agreement (LTA). The agreement will commence October 1, 1983, and will cover 5 years.

Under its terms, the U.S.S.R. will purchase from the United States 9 million metric tons of grain annually in approximately equal quantities of wheat and corn. Up to 1 million metric tons of the minimum could be satisfied by Soviet purchases of 500,000 metric tons of soybean and/or soybean meal. If this soybean/soybean meal option is exercised in any year, the minimum of wheat and corn for that year will be 8 million metric tons. During any year of the agreement, the Soviet Union may purchase 3 million metric tons of wheat and corn in addition to the minimum of 9 million metric tons without prior consultation.

The general framework of the new agreement follows that of the original LTA that was signed in 1975. The agreement was reached on July 28 in Vienna during the third round of negotiations regarding a new LTA. The U.S. negotiating team was lead by Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. Daniel G. Amstutz, Under Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, was the senior official for the USDA on the team. Formal signing of the agreement will take place in late August.

The current agreement that expires on September 30, 1983, called for a minimum annual purchase of 6 million metric tons of wheat and corn by the U.S.S.R., and provided an option for the Soviet Union to purchase an additional 2 million metric tons per year. The original agreement covered a 5-year period beginning in 1975. It was extended for a 1-year period on two occasions.