January 22, 2020

Canadian Corn Case Grows

I. Canadian Corn Case Grows / Doha
II. New Farm Bill Proposal
III. Disaster Aid
IV. Ethanol, State of the Union

I. Canadian Corn Case Grows / Doha

The Associated Press reported yesterday (“Argentina, Brazil join WTO complaint against U.S. corn subsidies”) that, “South American agricultural leaders Argentina and Brazil have joined Canada in a complaint against the United States over what they claim are illegal government handouts to American corn growers, trade officials said Monday.

“The request for consultations, filed by the two countries and Guatemala last week at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, threatens a major commercial dispute in the Western Hemisphere at a time when global free trade talks remain stalled over agricultural tariffs and subsidies and the U.S. begins debating a new multibillion-dollar farm bill.

“Under WTO rules, a three-month consultation period is required before a country can ask the trade body to launch a formal investigation. A WTO case can result in punitive sanctions being authorized, but panels take many months, and sometimes years, to reach a decision.”

The A.P. article reminded readers that, “The WTO, in a case brought by Brazil, already has ruled that some cotton subsidies are illegal and the administration of President Bush has been coming under pressure to reform a number of its farm support programs.

“‘Many of the issues in Canada’s complaint we have also complained about concerning U.S. cotton programs,’ said [Clodoaldo Hugueney, Brazilian ambassador to the WTO] in a telephone interview from Geneva.

“Canada’s complaint over U.S. corn support also challenged whether the billions of dollars in overall farm subsidies paid out by the U.S. government comply with international commerce rules.”