Archive Article: 2002/05/03

3 May 2002

USFarm Bills just a licence to subsidise

Freedom to subsidise to the hilt. Thats the verdict on the new US Farm Bill that consigns the liberalising Freedom to Farm Act to the scrap heap.

The new policy will guarantee the US food and farming industry an extra $7.4bn (£5.1bn) a year, on top of the $76bn (£52.4bn) a year it already gets. That eclipses the $55bn (£39bn) the EU gives its farmers, even though they outnumber their US counterparts by three to one.

Does that signal a change in attitude from the US in impending World Trade Organisation negotiations? No chance.

With customary hypocrisy, the US will continue to demand reductions in everybody elses subsidies but its own. EU negotiators will need to take a robust stance if our producers are not to lose more market share to heavily subsidised US farmers.

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