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Agricultural Subsidies & the WTO
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Agricultural Subsidies & the WTO



trade externalities of agricultural subsidies presented in the ILSA international conference at nujs kolkata

trade externalities of agricultural subsidies presented in the ILSA international conference at nujs kolkata



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  • US policy and WTO policies hurt US farmers, as my slides shows show. Market access into countries hurts all farmers, as it's used to lower global prices. Subsidies are unfair, but WTO or other subsidy restrictions, even if they strongly existed, would not address the problem of low prices. That's the major falsehood of WTO. What's needed are minimum price floors set at adequate levels, and backed up by supply reductions, as needed to balance supply and demand. That's what ends dumping (and ends the need for subsidies). When the US had fair trade price floors (1942-1952) we had no subsidies.
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  • Slide 3, Fair Prices from nonsubsidy Price Floors are more effective development than losing money on exports plus compensating farmers for the losses. S4 Subsidies are unfair, (US farmers should go broke as fast when we dump) but don't cause the cheap prices. S6 Eligibility is by amount of reduction (cheaper prices), more with more production, same ratio for small except pay limits for big. S9 Subsidies aren't what distort trade, it's the lack of Price Floors, so WTO gives only false hope. OPEC raised export prices, the US chose to lose many tens of billion $. S14 Brazil case didn't end cotton dumping! 'Free' trade hurts all ag countries, helps mega exporters, processors, CAFOs.
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Agricultural Subsidies & the WTO Agricultural Subsidies & the WTO Presentation Transcript

  • Trade Externalities of Agricultural Subsidies and WTO
    B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) Third Year
    KIIT Law School, KIIT University
  • Overview
    Subsidies in the developed countries
    Impact of Agricultural Subsidies:An Indian experience
    Agriculture under the GATT
    The Agreement on Agriculture
    The Agreement on Subsidies
    Doha round and agricultural subsidies
    The case of Brazil - U.S. Farm subsidies
  • Agricultural Subsidies
    Agricultural subsidies are considered to be the most effective mechanism for accelerating the growth of agricultural sector.
    Agricultural subsidies has become a tool for the developed countries to maintain their supremacy.
  • Controversies
    Subsidies give an unfair advantage to the farmers in the developed countries to sell their goods at a lower price, while the countries in South do not have enough resources to subsidize their farmers in a similar fashion.
  • The United States proposed to ban many types of subsidies. But it wants to exempt the agricultural sector from the banning of subsidy.
    U.S. and EU have given huge supports to their farmers, and the surplus generated by this has been disposed of in the international market. They are dumping grain by selling at prices far below the cost of production, which is unfair to developing countries.
  • Subsidies in the developed countries
    The eligibility for farm subsidies is determined not by income or poverty standards but by the crop that they grow.
    Since 1991, subsidies for large farms have nearly tripled, but there have been no increases in subsidies for small farms, in U.S.
    So, agricultural subsidies are largely seen as corporate welfare program rather than a common man program.
  • Impact of Agricultural Subsidies: An Indian experience
    American wheat is available in Chennai at a landing price much lower than that of the home grown grain. Food processing units in south India therefore find it economical to import wheat than to transport it from northern parts of the country.
    Wheat growers in the north India suffer, and many of them have gone bankrupt.
  • Agriculture under the GATT
    The primary focus of the GATT was the reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade.
    The GATT prohibited export subsidies on manufactured goods.
    But it didn’t restrict agricultural export subsidies as long as the country providing the subsidies did not thereby gain more than an equitable share of world export trade in the subsidized product.
    So, the GATT contracting parties have rarely succeeded in challenging agricultural export subsidies under this provision.
    GATT failed.
  • The WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture
    The main aim of the Agreement was to encourage fair and market oriented trade in agriculture by removing trade distortions resulting from differential levels of input subsidies, price and market support, export subsidy and other kinds of trade distorting support.
    The Agreement failed but the principal achievement was to create a framework for the further systematic liberalization of trade in agricultural products.
  • The WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures
    It disciplines the use of subsidies, and regulates the actions that the countries can take to counter the effects of subsidies.
    Under this Agreement, a country can use the WTO’s dispute settlement procedure to seek the withdrawal of the subsidy or the removal of its adverse effects or a country can launch its own investigation and ultimately charge “countervailing duty” on subsidized imports
  • Doha round and agricultural subsidies
    The main objective of this round, was to straighten out some of the kinks in agricultural trade. This activity, which accounts for only 8% of world merchandise trade, is the most heavily distorted by misbegotten policies.
    On 29th July the Doha round (2006) stalled.
  • The U.S. continued to argue for big cuts in farm import tariffs to open up markets for its farmers. It asked the developing countries to make a more generous offer for reducing trade-distorting domestic support.
    But this demand was rejected by the EU, Japan and India.
    A dead lock is created on agricultural tariffs and subsidies.
  • The case of brazil - U.S. farm subsidies
    Brazil alleges that since 1999, the U.S. has often exceeded its WTO spending limits for heavily trade-distorting agricultural subsidies.
    Brazil further claims that Washington surpassed its $19.1 billion entitlement for such ‘amber box’ spending in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005, as well as the prior $19.8 billion ceiling in 1999.
  • "The dispute resolving panel of WTO ruled that the U.S. remained in violation of world trade rules even after it repealed its 'Step 2' payment to cotton mills and exporters in August 2006."
    So, Brazil has reserved the right to impose annual sanctions of as much as $4 billion on the U.S.
  • Walking away is not an solution!!!
    The developing countries should unite and cooperate among themselves, which may help in advancing the cause of their own, scaling down the agricultural subsidies and dilute the negative side-effects.
  • Thank you