I sure appreciate the hospitality afforded by AgWired, thanks so much for the opportunity to make some guest posts on your excellent blog.
As Chuck indicated earlier today, I’m Keith Good and I write about current farm policy news events at FarmPolicy.com. I’m a licensed attorney and stay-at-home parent who has been blogging about farm policy for nearly two years. I hope you find the farm policy updates useful.
Negotiating activity at the on-going W.T.O. Doha Developmental Agenda trade talks has dominated farm policy news this past week.
Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman laid out a bold U.S. proposal at the talks, offering to cut U.S. “amber box” payments, which include some trade distorting subsidies, by 60%.
A recent New York Times article summed up the proposal by saying, “The United States is seeking to swap cuts in subsidies for more access to global markets for its farmers. The European Union, while making some concessions, has so far declined to lower tariffs much further.”
Meanwhile, France has rigorously opposed EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson’s leeway as the talks progress.
As Tom Wright noted in Wednesday’s International Herald Tribune, “The French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, had sought to force Mr. Mandelson to seek approval from the union’s 25 nations before making any fresh offers at the trade negotiations, which resume Wednesday in Geneva.”
An editorial from Friday’s Wall Street Journal summed up the French position this way, “France now stands in the way of a trade deal that would truly help poorer countries, all because a few middle-class farmers in the French province — not to mention agribusiness — are afraid to compete with poor farmers in the Third World.”
And, as Dr. Robert L. Thompson, the Gardner Chair in Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois, has recently explained, Midwestern corn and soybean farmers could benefit from a successful Doha outcome.
“Midwestern producers have a great deal to gain from trade liberalization as demand in low income countries for products in which they have a comparative advantage, particularly corn and soybeans, outstrips those countries’ own productive capacity. It is the acceleration of economic growth in presently low income countries that has the greatest potential benefits for internationally competitive producers,” Dr. Thompson noted.
So despite the possibility of potential changes in future policy, new and expanded opportunities for some producers are certainly possible.
Keith Good writes The FarmPolicy.com News Summary, an Email newsletter containing a summary of news relating to U.S. farm policy which is published most weekdays. To sign up for this FREE publication, just send him an Email.