More groups weigh in on WTO ag exports decision

More groups weigh in on WTO ag exports decision

American Soybean Association says it is disappointed in recent WTO talks, but supportive of 'new architecture' for subsequent trade discussions

Following the World Trade Organization's decision to eliminate subsidies for farm exports and other changes to stockpiling rules over the weekend, the American Soybean Association and U.S. Wheat Associates have responded with discussion of expected effects on the groups' represented commodities.

Related: WTO ends subsidies on ag exports

USW said ag export subsidies, though rarely used according to the group, are "among the most harmful and distorting practices for world agricultural trade."

Day 5 of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference, Nairobi, Dec. 19. (WTO photo)

"Agreeing to eliminate them is no small matter," the group said. Under the decision, developed members have committed to remove export subsidies immediately, except for a handful of agriculture products, and developing countries will do so by 2018.

Developing members will keep the flexibility to cover marketing and transport costs for agriculture exports until the end of 2023, however, a concern for ASA.

"ASA is disappointed that the agreement on export competition reached at the WTO Ministerial in Nairobi will allow developing countries to use marketing, processing, and transportation subsidies for exported commodities under Article 9.4 until 2023 – practices that undercut U.S. exports and distort trade," the group said.

Both ASA and USW have concerns with developing and least developed countries' new reauthorized use of processing and transport subsidies for agricultural products. This provision originally expired in 2004.

"While this reauthorization is limited and temporary, it is still a step backward for agricultural trade," USW said.

ASA also criticized India's actions within the WTO.

"We saw India hold the Doha negotiations hostage in Bali and now again in Nairobi," said ASA President Richard Wilkins. "India's continued efforts to roll back previous commitments and to block meaningful trade liberalization by developing countries going forward makes us concerned about future talks.

"We appreciate Ambassador Froman's statement that the Doha Round is effectively over and that future negotiations must take place under a new architecture.  Simply put, we believe the United States should only engage in future WTO negotiations it they occur under a markedly different framework than the flawed Doha mandate."

Related: Study takes closer look at countries' observance of WTO rules

"On balance, we are disappointed in the Nairobi results," Wilkins added. "We recognize that U.S. negotiators faced a very difficult environment in which to make progress.  The only silver lining to this agreement will be if future WTO negotiations truly take place on a new, sounder foundation that is based on the acceptance of greater disciplines by all parties."

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