Green box does distort trade, claims Indian study

A report commissioned by the Indian Department of Commerce and carried out by UNCTAD’s Indian team challenges the EU’s argument that decoupled aid payments have only a minimal trade distorting effect. According to the researchers’ model, EU farm exports would fall by a massive 45 per cent if Green Box subsidies were removed and production would fall by close to 6 per cent.

The EU, US and Canada would all see exports decline by upwards of 40 per cent in the absence of Green Box payments, while Swiss and Japanese exports would fall by over 60 per cent. However, most developing countries would see exports increase by around 20 per cent.

The Green Box issue remains open within the suspended Doha Round negotiations. However, given the EU’s attachment to its decoupled Single Farm Payment system, the bulk of which falls into the Green Box, it is unlikely that any Doha Round settlement will lead to changes in the Green Box. However, there could be provision for further discussion of what can legitimately be placed in the box, putting a time bomb under the whole CAP.

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