Argentina joins Brazil to protest against US subsidies

A big controversy has came out after US President George W. Bush announcements to concede subsidies to its agricultural producers. Bush earlier this month signed a six – year law raising US crop and dairy subsidies 67 percent, adding $ 6,4 billion a year to farm spending.

All South American countries have been very much prejudiced by this new North American legislation passed recently and will challenge it in front of the World Trade Organization, as Foreign Minister of Argentina, Carlos Ruckauf said yesterday.

“Brazil and Argentina are going to jointly ask the World Trade Organization to call a panel regarding the United States ‘ unilateral decision”, Ruckauf said to the press. This protectionist American policy comes exactly when Argentina is immersed in its worst economic crisis in history, paradoxically, due to following free commerce and neo-liberalistic advices from the International Monetary Fund.

Argentina is a major exporter of soy, corn, wheat, vegetable oils, vegetable meals, honey, lemons and beef and the agriculture industry is a big dollar earner. Therefore, local farmers have long railed against US protectionist policies which will certainly pull down international prices for the grains.

In turn, Brazil has estimated it will lose some $ 2,4 billion a year in farm exports – mainly soy, corn and cotton. However, Argentina has not released official estimates of how many export dollars it could lose.

In the meantime, the Geneva-based WTO is managing the world trade negotiations in which farm subsidies are one of the most contentious issues. While WTO talks to liberalize world trade in agriculture and other sectors, US or in their own words: “The best friend of Latin American countries” just take it for rubbish and keep on making efforts to aggravate the conditions of living among developing countries.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

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