The World Trade Organization closed its 10th Ministerial Conference with an agreement that will set a new direction for agricultural trade negotiations. The five-day conference that concluded over the weekend featured a deal between the WTO participating countries that will eliminate trade-distorting export subsidies and achieving disciplines on the use of export credits, according to the American Farm Bureau. Further, Farm Bureau says the agreement will lower agricultural trade barriers and strengthen U.S. agriculture’s ability to pursue market opportunities in international trade. House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Texas Republican Mike Conaway, said while the agreement addressed some critical issues for agriculture, it also fell short by allowing export subsidies for transportation and marketing for another eight years, even though authority to offer such subsidies expired in 2004.
While the agreement acknowledges domestic cotton reforms by the U.S., Conaway said he was “disappointed that some acknowledgment was not made concerning the deeply harmful impacts that China and India’s domestic cotton policies are having upon cotton farmers around the world.”