Trade hypocrisy (letter)by Michael NelmsNews Weekly
, June 1, 2002
Pat Byrne (NW
, May 18) details US trade hypocrisy with the planned massive $200 billion Farm Bill protection of its agriculture. He lists past payment levels, quoting the OECD reported average farm subsidy of 24 per cent to US farmers in 1999.
However, the current US situation may be far worse than that presented by the OECD. The New York Times
(December 24, 2000) reports direct payments to US farmers as accounting for half of all the money made by farmers, with such payments having tripled since 1996.
In eight States, government assistance made up 100 per cent of overall farm income.
US farmer dependence on federal money is even higher now, in both percentage terms and real dollars, than it was at the depth of the Great Depression.
Such payments reward failure and help to oversupply the world markets in which Australian farmers must compete without subsidy. The end result is enormous damage to world agricultural prices, Australian agricultural industries and their exports.Michael Nelms,
East Malvern, Vic