The Guardian is writing that Farm subsidy cuts are ‘an illusion’ .
Offers by the EU and the US to cut agricultural subsidies are “nothing more than an illusion”, according to a new report.
Published by the charity ActionAid, it highlights the negative impact of free trade policies on the Third World. It also claims proposals at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) meeting in Hong Kong this month could deepen poverty and inequality.
The report, Trade Invaders, shows how imports of subsidised goods from the West are damaging domestic business in poor countries.
“The EU and US claim to have cut their domestic agricultural subsidies over the years but, in reality, there have been no substantial reductions,” the executive summary of the document says.
“And despite their recent offers to cut their subsidies, they intend to continue as before by simply taking their subsidies out of one category, or ‘box’, and reallocating them to another,” it continued.
According to ActionAid’s estimates, the US pays $25 billion a year in farm subsidies, but current proposals would mean the figure was still at $17-$27 billion.
Similarly, changes put forward by the EU would only reduce its subsidies from 64 billion euros annually to 55-58 billion euros.
“These recent offers are therefore nothing more than an illusion,” the report says.
Not only could that $25 billion in subsidies be better spent (as in taken from the budget), we also have to deal with illegal immigrants pouring over our borders to pick some of those crops.
At any rate, the latest trade talks have stalled over crop subsidies. The US and EU want access to emerging markets but do not want emerging markets to interfere with subsidized crops picked by what amounts to slave labor.
It seems to me the status quo is a lose lose proposition, but given the stubbornness of the EU and US, it does not seem likely to change either.
Mike Shedlock / Mish/