The director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, urged to reach agreements between countries to end agricultural subsidies, which are harmful to poor nations and the environment.
If we do nothing to remedy it, there will be many poor countries that will not be able to compete because of the significant subsidies in rich states, said the WTO leader during a dialogue with the president of the World Bank, David Malpass, in Washington,
We have to consider how distortive these subsidies are, and that they result in an obstacle to competition, said the official in that conversation, which took place in the context of the annual meetings of that body and the International Monetary Fund.
She commented that supporting farmers represents $540 billion per year on average.
Most WTO member countries are willing to examine and solve this problem, she said.
The issue of agricultural subsidies has been one of the most controversial debated in the ministerial conferences of that multilateral organization, due to the distortions caused on global trade and their damage to underdeveloped nations.
That issue is also expected to be central to the Twelfth Ministerial Conference, which will take place from November 30 to December 3 in Switzerland.