What the UK Conservative Party manifesto says about Brexit

Given that Mrs Theresa May seems certain to be returned as UK Prime Minister with a greatly increased majority after the UK General Election on 8 June next, it is worth paying particular attention to what the Conservative Party manifesto which was launched yesterday has to say on Brexit issues in general and trade, immigration and agricultural issues in particular.
The manifesto actually has little new to say on these topics, with the exception of a new promise to extend agricultural support at current levels to the end of the next parliament, i.e. 2022 compared to the current commitment to maintain support at current levels to 2020.… Read the rest

Latest EU AMS notification confirms declining trend in WTO amber box support

The EU has just submitted its domestic support notification to the WTO for the year 2008/09 (hat tip to LB) and this year there are no surprises. Total support (using the WTO definition) was a shade over €80 billion, but the value of its trade-distorting support (the so-called ‘amber box’, given by its current total Aggregate Measure of Support) fell to its lowest level ever, at just under €12 billion.

In that year, the EU used just over 16% of its Total AMS commitment (its bound ceiling) of €72.2 billion. In other words, the EU could have reduced its AMS commitment by over 80% in that year and would still have fulfilled its WTO amber box obligation.… Read the rest

The changing landscape of agricultural support

Discussions on reducing agricultural support in the Uruguay Round and, especially, the WTO Doha Round have been framed increasingly in North-South terms. Developing countries have sought reductions in OECD country agricultural support while developed countries have sought increased access to their manufacturing and services markets in exchange.

However, the landscape of agricultural support is changing. While levels of agricultural support and protection have been falling in OECD countries (helped by high world market prices), agricultural support in a number of (but not all) emerging economies has been increasing (despite the increase in world market prices).

These changes in the global distribution of agricultural support have two main consequences.… Read the rest