The European Union (EU) and Brazil have submitted a joint proposal to reform agricultural subsidies to the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the hope that it will be tackled at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay have already expressed their support for the initiative, which suggests limiting trade-distorting subsidies in proportion to the size of each country’s agricultural sector to avoid negative, market-distorting effects and ensure fair conditions for all farmers. The least developed countries would be exempted from subsidy limits, which would have a positive effect for countries that buy foods at minimum prices as part of their food security programs.
The proposal also includes a specific chapter on the cotton sector, given the importance of this product to many developing countries. “This proposal should lead other WTO members to follow our example and so ensure a level playing field for all farmers in the local, regional, and in global markets,” said Phil Hogan, EU commissioner in charge of agriculture and rural development.