|April 27, 2004:
The United States cotton subsidies are giving U.S. farmers an unfair
advantage in the world market the World Trade Organization ruled Monday
night. The challenge which was brought to the WTO by Brazil could
force the United States to lower the subsidies it pays farmers to
grow cotton and, eventually most subsidized crops reported the New
York Times, Monday.
Brazil argued that the subsidized payments made to American farmers
violated international trade rules. They contended that the $300
billion in annual farm subsidies and supports paid by the world’s
wealthiest nations have left farmers from Brazil and other developing
nations trying to compete in a marketplace whose prices have been
artificially driven down, the Times reported.
While this is only a preliminary ruling, the final decision will
not be announced until June, as the first successful challenge of
agricultural subsidies, the decision could force a meaningful discussion
of farm-aid at summer trade talks. Nations have consistently locked
over this contentious issue forcing trade talks to lay idle for
over a year, according to the Times article.