With a formal complaint at the World Trade Organization about U.S. trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, gasoline rebates, tax breaks and export credits, Brazil launched a broad attack on U.S. farm spending. The country joins in a Canadian complaint that U.S. domestic farm support may have exceeded the $19.1 billion that the WTO rules allow the U.S. to spend on ag supports. The U.S. stayed under that level until 2001, when it stopped reporting its figures.
Canada contends that the U.S. has exceeded the maximum spending level six of the last eight years. "These claims were unfounded when they were made by Canada, and they are just as unfounded when they are made by Brazil," says Gretchen Hamel, spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office, in a Bloomberg report. Both Canada and Brazil want the U.S. to lower its spending from the $19.1 billion level, with Brazil calling for a $17 billion offer in recent trade talks.