US trade talks stumble on farm aid
The plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by 2005, hit a roadblock yesterday as US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick ended a visit to Brazil without making progress on the issue of free trade. Although everything was supposed to be open for negotiation, the US has refused to discuss ending subsidies to US farmers. Since South America's main exports are agricultural, there is little incentive for them to agree to a free trade agreement unless the subsidies are ended. Mr. Zoellick has said the US was willing to discuss agricultural subsidies, but only in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Many analysts believe the US will not reduce agricultural subsidies unless the European Union (EU) does the same.
See Tom Gibb, BBC News Online, May 29, 2003