Envoys cry foul as US seeks to protect its farm export credits

(Livemint, Delhi, 2 November 2015) The US has demanded ‘safe harbor’ protection for its controversial farm export credit programme from the disciplines underpinning the World Trade Organization’s agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures despite denying such a flexibility to India and other developing countries for public stockholding programmes for food security last year. In October, Washington’s trade envoy Ambassador Michael Punke sought the ‘safe harbor’ protection for export credits for its farm products from legal challenges arising from the disciplines in the WTO’s agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM), which also apply to OECD export credit agencies. The EU has joined forces with Brazil and five other farm exporting countries to propose tighter WTO rules on export subsidies and similar measures, one month ahead of the global trade body’s ministerial conference in Nairobi, Kenya.