FAPRI Director Comments on WTO Ruling on Cotton Subsidies

John Beghin, FAPRI-CARD, (515) 294-5811
Teddi Barron, ISU News Service, (515) 294-4778
Sandra Clarke, CARD communications, (515) 294-6257

April 27, 2004

In a preliminary ruling, the World Trade Organization decided United States' government subsidies to cotton farmers are in violation of international trade rules. The decision could lead to stringent fines for the United States or lower subsidies for crop farmers. A final decision on the case, which was brought forth by Brazil, will be made in June.

Third World nations contend that U.S. and European farm subsidies undermine their prospects for successfully trading agricultural products on the world market, says John Beghin, professor of economics and head of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at Iowa State University. "The WTO rule against U.S. cotton subsidies is an important victory for developing economies in their quest to level the playing field in world markets," he says.

Beghin is available to comment on the implications of the WTO ruling. He is an expert in trade and agricultural policy and the political economy of agricultural and food policies in developing economies. He can be reached at (515) 294-5811, or beghin@iastate.edu.