Friday, January 28, 2011

It's all in the green box

The EU has done a good job of stuffing its CAP subsidies into the green box category which is supposedly free of distortions to international trade, this latest report from ICTSD shows: Green Box

Production-linked subsidies hit a new 'low' of €12.3bn, whereas green box subsidies such as the Single Farm Payment amounted to a new high of €62.6bn. That makes a total of €74.9bn and it is worth reflecting on the opportunity cost of that amount of spending.

As one comment on the report points out, what really distorts global trade are the EU's high tariff barriers, particularly in relation to so-called 'sensitive' products. Should the Doha Round resume, this is an area in which agreement will be needed.

Of course, there are questions about whether subsidies placed in the green box are really free of distortions to international trade and this could be tested in the quasi-judicial WTO dispute settlement mechanism at some point in the future.

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