Have your say: US retaliates with dairy export subsidies
24th May 09, 10:47am
The United States announced late on Friday subsidies for nearly 100,000 tonnes of dairy products, arguing it was responding to export subsidies for European farmers and saying it was working within World Trade Organisation rules and did not want to hurt unsusidised exports. Here's the full statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced allocations under USDA's Dairy Export Incentive Program for the July 2008 through June 30, 2009 period, as allowed under the rules of the World Trade Organization. The program helps U.S. dairy exporters meet prevailing world prices and encourages the development of international export markets in areas where U.S. dairy products are not competitive due to subsidized dairy products from other countries. "These allocations illustrate our continued support for the U.S. dairy industry, which has seen its international market shares erode, in part, due to the reintroduction of direct export subsidies by the European Union earlier this year," said Vilsack. "The Obama Administration remains strongly committed to the pledge by the Leaders of the Group of Twenty to refrain from protectionist measures. Our measured response is fully consistent with our WTO commitments and we will make every attempt to minimize the impact on non-subsidizing foreign suppliers." The Dairy Export Incentive Program allocations of 68,201 metric tons of nonfat dry milk; 21,097 metric tons of butterfat; 3,030 metric tons of various cheeses and 34 metric tons of other dairy products, as well as individual product and country allocations will be made available through Invitations for Offers. Country and region quantities may be limited by the invitation. Administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, this program was reauthorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. As part of its World Trade Organization commitments resulting from the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, the United States has established annual export subsidy ceilings by commodity with respect to maximum permitted quantities and maximum budgetary expenditures.What I think I have previously argued in this piece "Why an American Free Trade is a ludicrous and dangerous idea" that it would be a mistake for New Zealand to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with America. It would open the door for the lobby groups for US agriculture, pharmaceutical and movie/music interests to gut any deal so it was worthless, or even worse, force us to change our copyright laws and shut down Pharmac. I said Americans lie and cheat on trade policy. They protest they want free trade, but regularly act to restrict trade and subsidise their exporters. Lobbyists dominate the trade agenda in America. Here is more proof of that. HT HomePaddock for the cartoon. Your view? We welcome your comments below