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World Trade Organization Agricultural Negotiations

Current international trade negotiations being held under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are likely to have a major impact on the U.S. agricultural sector. The Doha round of negotiations, so called because it is held as a part of the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, is reaching a critical phase. Late spring 2006 could bring the clarification and tightening of ground rules to reduce international trade barriers in agricultural products and services.

While U.S. producers can expect to benefit from greater access to foreign markets and a reduction in export subsidies, some of the Doha provisions could have major impacts on U.S. domestic agricultural support programs. In particular, they could result in a reduction in direct payments linked to the production of specific commodities.

An "Ag Policy Brief" from the University of Illinois FarmDoc program gives an overview of the WTO, discusses the development of international agricultural trade regulations, and examines how upcoming changes in these regulations could affect midwestern and other U.S. farmers.

Further information on possible impacts of WTO negotiations, particularly on commodity programs, can be found at USDA's Economic Research Service Web site.


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