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American Shipper

Bush requests additional $770 million food aid

Bush requests additional $770 million food aid

President Bush asked Congress Thursday to provide an additional $770 million to support food aid and development programs in the world's poorest countries.

   This request is in addition to the Bush administration's announcement two weeks ago to make available $200 million in emergency food aid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emerson Trust.

   President Bush said he expects the United States to spend nearly $5 billion in 2008 and 2009 to flight global hunger. 'This funding will keep our existing emergency food aid programs robust,' he said in a speech from the White House.

   He used the occasion to promote his administration's calls for Congress to support a proposal to purchase up to 25 percent of food aid from farmers in the developing world. American farmers and U.S.-flag vessel operators involved with transporting food aid have lobbied lawmakers against approving this proposal.

   The president said the United States is working with the Group of Eight and other countries to secure increased commitments of food aid and to use the World Trade Organization's Doha Round to reduce and eliminate tariffs on agricultural goods.

   'We're also urging countries that have instituted restrictions on agricultural exports to lift those restrictions,' Bush said. 'Some countries are preventing needed food from getting to the market in the first place, and we call upon them to end those restrictions to help ease suffering for those who aren't getting food.

   'We're also urging countries to remove barriers to advanced crops developed through biotechnology. These crops are safe, they're resistant to drought and disease, and they hold the promise of producing more food for more people,' he added.