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Committee on Agriculture Reviews Agricultural Subsidies in Foreign Countries

Washington, D.C. - Today, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to review rising foreign agriculture subsidies. Members of the Committee heard from Dr. Darren Hudson, Director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness (ICAC) at Texas Tech University, and Craig A. Thorn, partner at DTB Associates, LLP in Washington, DC.  Hudson and Thorn testified concerning the scope and nature of foreign agriculture subsidies, the harm they cause U.S. farmers and ranchers, the U.S. economy, and jobs, and the need for the U.S. government to ensure that foreign competitors are brought into compliance with their trade commitments. 

According to the ICAC database, America ranks near the bottom of the subsidy and tariff scales, meaning the U.S. maintains an open market and offers low support for farmers and ranchers, while many of the biggest foreign players in global agriculture trade are practicing trade-distorting tactics that violate their trade commitments. Hudson and Thorn warned that the U.S. is consistently outpaced by our competitors in terms of subsidies and other protections, putting U.S. farmers and ranchers at a serious competitive disadvantage. 

"Our nation is blessed by the best, most productive, and most competitive farmers in the world who provide our abundance and take care of the land, but so often they have to compete not against other farmers but against other governments."  House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway said. “While we were busy writing the 2014 farm bill, which achieved significant reforms and savings, our biggest foreign competitors were increasing to new heights their already high subsidies, tariffs, and other trade barriers. This harms our farmers and ranchers, it harms our economy, and it costs America jobs. That’s why the U.S. government must hold our trading partners accountable when they violate their trade commitments.  We cannot allow foreign government subsidies, tariffs, and other barriers to free trade to continue at the expense of America’s farmers and ranchers.”