Negotiators for the international pact to phase out chemicals that harm the Earth's protective ozone layer are balking at the continued delays the United States has sought in meeting the treaty's goal for a 2005 ban on methyl bromide.
The situation adds uncertainty for U.S. farmers and their plans for the 2005 planting season and crop income. In addition to crops, the chemical also helps control pests in wooden pallets used by shippers.
The 1987 treaty allows for "critical use" exemptions, and the Bush administration has asked for one for the second year in a row. This time it wants to use the pesticide at a rate of 37 percent of the tonnage used in the 1991 baseline. Other nations want the U.S. request scaled back to 27 percent.