China and India have jointly proposed the elimination of $160 billion of what they call “trade-distorting farm subsidies” in the U.S., European Union and other wealthy nations, according to the China Iowa Group. The move is considered “a game changer” in global farm trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization, say trade envoys familiar with the development.

As the WTO’s 164 members prepare for the crucial eleventh ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires starting on 10 December, China and India have turned the tables by calling for the elimination of of what is called the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) or “the most trade distorting element in the global trade of agriculture.

In the proposal, floated in July, the two largest developing countries argue that AMS “has to be eliminated before any other reform in the global farm trade can be taken up for consideration.”

The proposal suggests that the U.S., the EU, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and Norway continue to distort global farm trade by safeguarding their exclusive entitlements on AMS, which they had secured in the previous Uruguay Round of trade negotiations

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