House Agriculture Committee Looks at Global Subsidies

Mike Conaway
House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway
Jun 05, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC -- The House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing this week to review and discuss the trade distorting impact of farm subsidies in other countries and whether these subsidies may result in violations of subsidy rules in the World Trade Organization (WTO).  
Craig Thorn of DTB Associates, LLC and Dr. Darren Hudson of Texas Tech provided testimony.  Thorn noted that the run-up in subsidies in the countries that his firm examined -- China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and Thailand -- began about a decade ago and have continued unabated. Thorn said much of the data was collected from reports by overseas offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service because farm subsidies are rarely reported to the WTO in a timely fashion, and because some countries use faulty methodology to make reported subsidy levels appear smaller than actual outlays.  The domestic support policies of these advanced developing countries, which are both key competitors and customers of U.S. agriculture, have a global impact. They have stimulated production, displaced imports, and, in many cases increased exports.  
"The U.S., as the biggest agricultural exporter, suffers most from these distortions," said Thorn.
"This was a very timely and important hearing," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings. "As the importance of the farm bill safety net grows for U.S. producers, Congress should understand that support for agriculture in key foreign countries continues strong. Both witnesses, and the questions from Committee Members, highlighted the importance of a vibrant U.S. voice at WTO headquarters to set the record straight about agriculture subsidies. USA Rice very much supports this initiative."