Wednesday, 23 July 2008

U.S. offers to cut farm subsidies by $1.4 billion to help trade talks

GENEVA: The United States offered on Tuesday to cut its ceiling on trade-distorting farm subsidies to $15 billion in a bid to close world trade talks this year, but leading developing countries said it was not enough.
"This is a major move, taken in good faith with the expectation that others will reciprocate and step forward with improved offers in market access," U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab told reporters.
The move came on the second day of a meeting aimed at reaching a long-awaited breakthrough on farm and manufacturing trade issues at the centre of the nearly seven-year-old Doha round of world trade talks.
Because of high international farm prices, current U.S. spending on trade-distorting farm programmes is about $7 billion, or well below the $48.2 billion ceiling the United States is allowed under World Trade Organisation rules.
But Schwab said the offer -- which is dependent on other countries opening their markets to more foreign farm and manufactured goods -- would require Congress to rewrite recently passed farm legislation.

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