The storm builds

The US-EU joint paper[⇒ relat­ed sto­ry] has pro­voked oth­ers into try­ing their hand at a new approach to a WTO deal on reform­ing world agri­cul­tur­al trade. Look for a paper in the next day or so from India, Chi­na and Brazil that * calls for the elim­i­na­tion of export sub­si­dies
* cracks-down on domes­tic sup­port pay­ments like those in the US Farm Bill of 2002
* but goes soft on access to mar­kets Unfor­tu­nate­ly, nei­ther Brazil nor India has a strong record in open­ing their own agri­cul­ture mar­kets. Brazil has an aver­age agri­cul­tur­al tar­iff of about 35% with 96% of its agri­cul­tur­al tar­iffs high­er than 15%. Almost half of Indi­a’s agri­cul­tur­al tar­iff lines are above 100%. Chi­na reck­ons that it has already made its con­tri­bu­tion by its agree­ment to open mar­kets dur­ing its nego­ti­a­tions to join the WTO. These are nonethe­less some heavy-hit­ters in the polit­i­cal econ­o­my of the world trad­ing sys­tem. Their pro­pos­als will car­ry weight in the final mix, what­ev­er that turns out to be. Anoth­er attempt at a ‘com­pro­mise’ from the nego­ti­at­ing group Chair­man? Pos­si­bly.
But con­sid­er­able con­fu­sion ahead… ? Certainly.

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