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Seedy workings in U.S. farm subsidies

A farmer in his tractor near Luxemburg, Iowa.

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Canada and Brazil are two of the biggest trading partners for the U.S. They plan to ask the World Trade Organization to determine whether U.S. subsidies to American farmers violates international trade laws. We have more from Paul Brandus.


Paul Brandus: Canada and Brazil say the U.S. consistently gives American farmers more than the allowed $19 billion subsidy every year. They say that gives U.S. farmers an unfair advantage.

The U.S. denies this and says its payments have been below allowable limits:

Frank DuBois: Well, then, I think we need to look at the limits.

Frank DuBois is a trade expert at American University's business school:

DuBois: There are quite a few American farmers who make more money on subsidies than they do actually making a final product for delivery to the marketplace. I think that this is skewing the trade relationships that we have with Brazil and Canada.

Even if the WTO rules that the U.S. has to cut its farm subsidies, Congress would have to approve. That's unlikely. In fact, lawmakers are haggling over a $286 billion bill that would give farmers every dime they have now and then some.

In Washington, I'm Paul Brandus for Marketplace.

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