Cap on Farm Subsidies Lowered at 8.5%

China has agreed to a lower cap on farm subsidies than it originally asked for once entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) takes place, according to details of a consensus reached with the United States.

A US government fact sheet showed that China will limit itself to a maximum of 8.5 percent of the total value of farm production, down from a previous request of 10 percent.

"We sought a lower (level of subsidies) for China because China is one of the world's largest agricultural producers... and is a highly competitive producer of a number of agricultural products," the US fact sheet said.

The level of subsidies China may give its farmers has been one of the main stumbling blocks to the country's membership in the Geneva-based trade body.

China insists it joins the WTO as a developing country, which would allow its agricultural subsidies of up to 10 percent, but the United States had refused, saying China was too big.

The China-US agreement was reached between Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng and US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick earlier this month on the sidelines of a meeting of Pacific rim trade ministers in Shanghai.

The consensus between the two trading giants also covered previously unsettled areas in insurance and distribution, the fact sheet said.

While both sides hailed the agreement, and Shi said "full consensus" had been reached, they kept a tight lid on the details until the US government fact sheet was issued on Thursday.

(China Daily HK Edition 06/18/2001)

In This Series

WTO Entry to Promote Free Agriculture Market

Agriculture Develops Steadily

Poverty Relief, a Long and Arduous Task in China

Rural Industry to Yield 2,730 Billion Yuan in Added Value

Century Memories of Rural China



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