During discussions Wednesday between
President George Bush said the discussions were frank. "The Europeans have problems with the
"My pledge to our European counterparts is, we'll do the very best we can to reach an agreement that is - that satisfies all parties' desires," Bush adds.
Ministers plan to meet in
US may need to give more on domestic support
Recently EU has pressured for deeper cuts to
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a study on government support to farmers that argues against the view that high levels of support are necessary to ensure the quality of the environment and prosperity in rural areas.
Government support, measured as the overall Producer Support Estimate varies widely across OECD countries. The PSE in the European Union was 32% of farm receipts in 2005 (compared with 33% in 2004) and in the
The report, Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries - at a Glance, adds that 59% of government support last year was in the form of measures to boost the prices of farm products. These include import tariffs, export subsidies and domestic output subsidies which, says the OECD, badly distort production, markets and trade.
However, OECD says most support goes to those who have the largest farms while government aid often "leaks" out those who are not the intended beneficiaries such as suppliers or people who own, but do not farm, land, it says. Policies to improve the environment are often ineffectual because they mainly offset pressures on natural resources from subsidies that stimulate production. Rural development is more effectively fostered by measures such as investment in infrastructure, education and social services.
Presenting the report in Brussels, Ken Ash, the OECD's deputy director of food, agriculture and fisheries says, "If governments break the link between support and production and establish better links between support and what they are trying to accomplish - for instance, environmental sustainability or rural community well-being, they will improve the performance of domestic policies and avoid negative impacts on world markets."