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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

13/06/2002

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

NULL

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

Canada criticises high subsidies in US farm bill
ROME, June 11 (Reuters) - Canada slammed the United States on Tuesday overthe high level of subsidies in its new farm bill which it said increasedprotection for U.S. agriculture and prevented poor countries fromcompeting in global agricultural markets."The United States is building on the already high level of subsidies thatthey had and increasing production, thereby distorting prices," CanadianAgriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief told Reuters during a U.N.-backed WorldFood Summit.U.S. President George W. Bush signed a six-year law last month boostingU.S. crop and dairy subsidies by 67 percent despite protests from U.S.trade partners.The new law adds an estimated $6.4 billion a year to crop and dairyspending and marks a further retreat from free-market reforms begun in1985. The fatter subsidies will become available at harvest."They are adding to what they were doing in the past by being the onlycountry in the world to subsidise pulse crops," Vanclief said, referringto crops of peas and lentils.Canada said in a news release that the U.S. farm bill and EU subsidiesdistorted world commodity markets and hindered developing nations' abilityto compete in world markets."New support payments for some American pulse crops will especially impactdeveloping nations that are significant producers of these crops,"Vanclief said."A fair and market-oriented international trading system is vital toeliminate poverty and hunger."Vanclief told Reuters developing nations would find it harder to competein global wheat, maize, lentil and pea markets due to the increased U.S.farm bill subsidies."They (U.S.) added pulse crops, they increased it (subsidies) to corn,they left it about the same for soybeans," the minister said.U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, in an interview with Reuters onMonday, denied that the U.S. farm bill had increased protection of U.S.agriculture and said the United States was committed to droppingtrade-distorting subsidies."It (the farm bill) does nothing to increase protection at our border,"she said. "It does not change what the developing countries can export toour country."She added: "We want to eliminate export subsidies. We want tosubstantially increase market access by lowering tariffs. Our tariffs areabout 12 percent for food and agriculture. Around the world, such tariffsaverage about 62 percent.""We want to substantially reduce domestic supports that aretrade-distorting."However, the farm bill has come in for widespread criticism fromindustrialised and developing countries alike."We wish there was no such bill because it sets a bad example," AustralianAgriculture Minister Warren Truss told a news conference on Tuesday.The world food summit, organised by the United Nations Food andAgriculture Organisation (FAO), aims to revive enthusiasm in the war onhunger. It ends on Thursday.

(The informations and opinions expressed in this article represent theviews of the author only. They should not be seen as necessarilyreflecting the views of Palm News)