1 For more information, see CRS Report RS22131, Agriculture: Previewing a Farm Bill.
2 The official text of the AA is at [http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e.htm#ag].
For more information, see WTO, Understanding the WTO: the Agreements, “Agriculture: Fairer
Markets for Farmers,” at [http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm3_e.htm].
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Order Code RS20840
Updated May 10, 2005
Agriculture in the WTO:
Limits on Domestic Support
Specialist in Agricultural Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Most provisions of the current “farm bill,” the Farm Security and Rural Investment
Act (FSRIA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-171), do not expire until 2007. However, hearings on
a 2007 farm bill could begin in late 2005. At that time, Congress will begin to examine
farm income and commodity price support proposals that might succeed the programs
due to expire in 2007. A key question likely to be asked of virtually every new proposal
is how it will affect U.S. commitments under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture
(AA), which commits the United States to spend no more than $19.1 billion annually
on domestic farm support programs most likely to distort trade. The AA spells out the
rules for countries to determine whether their policies are potentially trade distorting,
and to calculate the costs. This report, which will be updated if events warrant,
describes the steps for making these determinations.
Major farm income and commodity price support provisions of the last omnibus
farm bill, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-171),
do not expire until 2007.1 However, discussions of a 2007 farm bill are already underway
within various farm and commodity organizations. The House and possibly the Senate
Agriculture Committees could begin hearings on a new farm bill before the end of 2005.
Such hearings would mark the official start