Release: #4028-97

For Release: June 19, 1997

CFTC TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETINGS IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, AND BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS, ON WHETHER TO LIFT THE PROHIBITION ON CERTAIN AGRICULTURAL TRADE OPTIONS


The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) will convene two public meetings: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 10, 1997, in Bloomington, Illinois (Illinois State University, Bone Student Center - Corner of College & University - Old Main Room) and 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Wednesday, July 16, 1997, in Memphis, Tennessee (University of Memphis, Fogelman Executive Center, Room 123, 330 Deloach Street), for members of the public to present oral or written statements on whether the Commission should lift the prohibition on trade options on certain domestic agricultural commodities and, if so, what conditions would be appropriate.

The agricultural trade options to be discussed are off-exchange or over-the-counter options on certain domestic agricultural commodities including wheat, cotton, rice, corn, oats, soybeans, soybean derivatives, livestock, and frozen concentrated orange juice. If the ban is lifted, these options could be offered and sold to producers, processors, commercial users, or merchants handling the underlying commodity for business-related purposes. The offer or sale of agricultural trade options has been banned since 1936 because of problems in the past with fraud and misuse.

The Commission recently published in the Federal Register an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether it should propose rules to lift the prohibition on these trade options and, if so, what conditions would be appropriate. The comment period will remain open until July 24, 1997. This notice can be found on the Internet at http://www.cftc.gov/foia/970609A.htm. Also, a study produced by the Commission's Division of Economic Analysis (Division) entitled, "Policy Alternatives Relating to Agricultural Trade Options and Other Agricultural Risk-Shifting Contracts" is available and can be accessed at http://www.cftc.gov/ac/acag8.htm. These documents can also be obtained by calling the Commission's Office of the Secretariat at (202) 418-5100.

The Advance Notice lists a number of questions for public comment relating to the issues identified in the Division's study. The Commission would like to receive both written and oral comment from a wide range of interested members of the public to assist it in its consideration of these issues.

Individuals and organizations wishing to appear before the Commission should send their request, a concise statement of interest and qualifications, and a brief summary of their statement to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20581, attention: Office of the Secretariat. These requests may be mailed, transmitted by facsimile to (202) 418-5521; or transmitted electronically to [secretary@cftc.gov]. Reference should be made to "Agricultural Trade Options Meeting--Bloomington" or "Agricultural Trade Options Meeting--Memphis." The deadline to submit requests is July 1, 1997.

For further information about these meetings, please contact Paul M. Architzel, Chief Counsel, Division of Economic Analysis, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, at (202) 418-5260.