Tag Archives: agriculture

Supply management has no place in the TPP

It would be mad­ness for Aus­tralia to agree to admit Cana­da to the TPP “free trade” nego­ti­a­tions on the basis that they might keep their astro­nom­i­cal­ly high bar­ri­ers to some food imports. The Cana­di­an Trade Min­is­ter, Ed Fast, told reporters this week that he believes Cana­da has “pub­lic sup­port” from six of the nine coun­tries […]

Critical Mass” on US business agenda

The US Nation­al For­eign Trade Coun­cil has released a short paper (PDF file) endors­ing a “crit­i­cal mass” (CM) approach to new WTO-asso­­ci­at­ed trade agree­ments, with­out, how­ev­er, pro­duc­ing any new ideas on how to accom­plish this in the cur­rent mul­ti­lat­er­al trade frame­work. A top U.S. busi­ness group, frus­trat­ed with years of stale­mate in world trade talks, […]

Huge gaps remain in WTO negotiations

Recent rounds of bilat­er­al talks between the USA and Chi­na on open­ing both farm and non-farm prod­uct mar­kets as part of WTO’s long-delayed Doha Round have been incon­clu­sive for very famil­iar rea­sons: “[U]nfortunately, what we learned con­firmed our worst fears — that we would see no new mar­ket access on our major agri­cul­tur­al export inter­ests” […]

Australia’s trade outlook is strong

By 2030 Chi­na, espe­cial­ly, dra­mat­i­cal­ly increas­es its share of world imports of agri­cul­ture, fos­sil fuels and ser­vices, accord­ing to the World Bank’s mod­el­ling Note, too, the pro­ject­ed share of low and mid­­dle-income economies in world trade in 2030: up from a third to a half.

Back and forward (and back) in Geneva

News ser­vices have all picked up a state­ment by the U.S. nego­tia­tor for agri­cul­ture in WTO in which he claims there’s been “some progress” in the Doha nego­ti­a­tions in the past six months but it looks like there’ll beno new rules ahead of the U.S. Con­gress extend­ing the farm bill sub­si­dies in 2012. “Some progress”?! […]

Why the Doha Round is failing

The usu­al­ly well-informed ITSCD Bridges Newslet­ter tries to explain it with a bit of tabloid allit­er­a­tion: ‘Polit­i­cal Paral­y­sis Poi­sons WTO Agri­cul­ture Talks’. Nah! It’s a polit­i­cal choice to put the talks on life-sup­­port and it will be a polit­i­cal choice to pull the tubes. It’s Doha that’s in rig­or, not the pol­lies. The Doha Round […]

EU launches debate on farm subsidies

Expenditure on the CAP

Fol­low­ing sev­er­al weeks of con­sul­ta­tions, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is expect­ed to draw up a report on poten­tial changes to the CAP in mid-sum­mer. ” Extract from ICTSD • EU Farm Com­mis­sion­er Launch­es Debate on Sub­si­dies

I bet there are no sur­pris­es.

The over­all strat­e­gy for the Com­mon Agri­cul­tur­al Pol­i­cy beyond the next bud­get hori­zon (2013) is already evi­dent in the chart. It shows that nom­i­nal expen­di­ture in €bil­lions is being held near­ly steady—or ris­ing just slight­ly— despite the enlarge­ment of the Union. But the val­ue is falling in real terms (and as a pro­por­tion of GDP). This strat­e­gy plays to the cash illu­sion of farm­ers (assum­ing they still have such illu­sions) while keep­ing the lid on their incen­tive to expand pro­duc­tion, which only adds to pub­lic stock woes and diverts the bud­get into dis­pos­al expens­es (export sub­si­dies).

But At 0.4% of GDP, the CAP still rep­re­sents six­ty per­cent of all expen­di­ture by the Union. So six­ty-years on from its launch, the mad­ness of this giant re-dis­tri­b­u­tion machine con­tin­ues.

The more ‘vari­gat­ed’ dis­tri­b­u­tion of the funds diplayed in the chart—illustrating ‘CAP reform’—is a bit of fur­phy. The ‘cou­pled’ and ‘de-cou­pled’ pay­ments direct to farms and the ‘rur­al devel­op­ment’ expen­di­ture are near­ly fun­gi­ble sources of income for farm­ers. They all pay to keep farm­ers in a busi­ness where world mar­ket prices tell them they should not be (or would tell them were it not for the import bar­ri­ers).

It’s iron­ic that the Com­mis­sion has enti­tled this pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion as “2013, Your Ideas Mat­ter…”. Because ideas have long been junk where the CAP is con­cerned; only inter­ests have any force.