Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box

Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box

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Edited by Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Christophe Bellmann, Jonathan Hepburn
Cambridge University Press, 03/12/2009
EAN 9780521519694, ISBN10: 0521519691

Hardcover, 706 pages, 22.4 x 15.6 x 4 cm

Do the World Trade Organization’s rules on ‘green box’ farm subsidies allow both rich and poor countries to achieve important goals such as food security, or do they worsen poverty, distort trade and harm the environment? Current WTO requirements set no ceiling on the amount of green box subsidies that governments can provide, on the basis that these payments cause only minimal trade distortion. Governments are thus increasingly shifting their subsidy spending into this category, as they come under pressure to reduce subsidies that are more directly linked to production. However, growing evidence nonetheless suggests that green box payments can affect production and trade, harm farmers in developing countries and cause environmental damage. By bringing together new research and critical thinking, this book examines the relationship between green box subsidies and the achievement of sustainable development goals, and explores options for future reform.

'This book constitutes a long-awaited and valuable contribution to clarifying what has become the core of agricultural negotiations: the fear that abusive migration toward so-called green-box subsidies might render meaningless any apparent progress in reduction of the more obvious distorting modalities. It is a well-balanced and thoughtful analysis of all relevant arguments in the debate and provides trade negotiators with an enlightened guidance to help the Doha Round deliver on its promise of putting world trade to the service of development needs and environmental improvement.' Ambassador Rubens Ricupero, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 'ICTSD has done the cause of agricultural trade reform a genuine service with its initiative to commission and edit this collection of papers on the impacts of existing Green Box subsidy expenditures and the case for changes in the WTO rules governing them. The book brings together thoughtful contributions from some of the best known experts in the field ... [It] is a valuable compilation of analysis, comment and suggestions on the issues and deserves wide exposure.' Joanna Hewitt, former lead WTO negotiator and previous Head of Division in the OECD's Agriculture Directorate