US and EU farm subsidy proposals fail to impress

US and EU proposals to make substantial cuts in their farm subsidies to save the Doha Round have been rejected by Japan, India and Brazil and by development NGO Oxfam.

The EU and the US are trying to resuscitate the deadlocked global trade talks with proposals to cut farm subsidies. Trade commissioner Peter Mandelson on Monday 10 October reacted to the surprising move by his American counterpart Rob Portman by proposing to cut EU farm subsidies by 70%. 

The proposals were put on the table during talks in Zürich to prepare the WTO meeting in Hong Kong in December. Progress on the trade talks have stalled because of the thorny issue of EU and US farm subsidies.

The Japanese government, which was challenged to cut its own subsidies by 80% dismissed the US proposal. Brazil and India also reacted negatively and said the offers from both economic giants are insufficient.

Aid agency Oxfam called the US government offer “smoke and mirrors” and said that it could hurt poor countries.

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