Wednesday, 4 June 2008

:: Developing nations slam US farm bill at WTO
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Developing nations slam US farm bill at WTO
Source: The Times of India/Associated Press

Developing nations slam US farm bill at WTO
4 Jun 2008, 0131 hrs IST,AP

GENEVA: Brazil, India and other developing countries said on Tuesday that the new US farm bill will be an obstacle to global trade talks aimed at lifting millions worldwide out of poverty.

A group of 20 developing nations also including China, Mexico and Argentina echoed criticism by WTO chief Pascal Lamy, who last week said the new US farm bill sent a bad signal to the world while talks on a new global trade deal were continuing.

The emerging countries said the ‘‘new bill heads agriculture policies in the wrong direction at a decisive juncture of the WTO Doha Round,'' referring to the trade talks, which started seven years ago in the Qatari capital of Doha.

The US Congress last month passed a bill that provides new and bigger subsidies to US farmers and more food stamps to help the poor buy food as grocery prices rise.

The 20 countries in a joint statement said the trade talks should bring significant reductions in trade-distorting subsidies in developed countries to boost agricultural trade and promote development. But by allowing higher subsidy payments for certain commodities, the farm bill contradicts the purpose of the talks, it said.

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