Study: Developing countries increasing farm subsidies
A study released Friday found that large developing countries have been increasing their trade-distorting farm subsidies, even as Inside U.S. Trade was reporting that U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Michael Punke was saying that any change to agriculture negotiations in the WTO Doha round would have to include concessions from developing countries that have been increasing subsidies.
The study, which was conducted by DTB Associates and funded by U.S. commodity groups, was completed in November and found that Brazil, China, India, Turkey and Thailand have been increasing their subsides over the past decade.
For example, for 2013-2014, China’s subsidies for wheat, corn, and rice were markedly higher than the support in the United States, and in some cases they were more than double, the study said.
In addition, the study said that these countries are in violation of their reporting obligations under the WTO’s Agriculture Agreement, and have either been late or using dubious methodologies that underestimate their subsidies.
“Our joint study showed that these five advanced developing countries have steadily increased subsidies to their producers to the point of being out of compliance with their WTO obligations,” said USA Rice Chief Operating Officer Bob Cummings. “Several of these countries are also very likely using export subsidies to dispose of surplus production which runs counter to the spirit and letter of WTO agreements.”
“U.S. wheat farmers believe every WTO member must follow the rules. Sadly, the facts we have uncovered show this is not the case,” said U.S. Wheat Associates President Alan Tracy.
Meanwhile, in discussions in Geneva to develop a work program to advance the stalled Doha round, Punke said that an agriculture text acceptable to the United States needs to include concessions from developing-country members that maintain significant domestic subsidies and have the production capacity to influence global trade, Inside U.S. Trade reported.
Punke made clear that this amounted to a differentiation among developing country members, but failure to reflect those difference will make it impossible to advance negotiations.
–The Hagstrom Report