- Category: Business
- Published on Thursday, October 14 2010 15:27
- Written by Rod Hughes
- Hits: 589
For a country that usually tries so hard to be friends with everyone, Costa Rica sure knows how to make some of them furious! Representatives from 35 countries of the World Trade Organization have taken this country to task for the extent of its agricultural subsidies.
At the WTO Agriculture Committee Sept. 26 meeting, eight countries spoke out against Tico farm subsidies, pulling no punches. Accusing Costa Rica of violating international agreements and threatening sanctions, they pointed out that this country is allowed $15.9 million in annual domestic aid to farmers but greatly exceeded this figure, handing out $23 million in 2007, increasing to $62 million in 2008 and finally to $92 million last year.
The 35 nations are mad and not going to take it any more. Fortunately, International Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez understands the others' viewpoint. "This is a serious issue," she said, "and has to be treated seriously. We have obligations to the international community."
Almost all of the subsidies are to rice farmers in the form of set prices for the commodity. Rice and beans are a staple diet for the poor. Probably for this reason, Gonzalez shied away from specific questions about a definitive solution during a press conference, saying only that she would give the matter "top priority."
U.S. representatives said that Costa Rica has passed from a "gray area" in 2007 into clear non compliance if not complete defiance of international trade agreements.