Australia, Brazil, Canada and the European Union have asked the United States to clarify how it reports several of its farm support programs to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The countries noted substantial increases in non-trade distorting “green box” payments and changes in the way it reported product-specific subsidies. Reportedly the countries asked for information about the changes in the way U.S. farm support programs were reported.

In August, the United States notified the WTO of its domestic support commitments for market years 2008 and 2009. These include funding provided by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) for crop insurance programs, supplemental nutrition assistance, “amber box” subsidies and de-coupled income support payments, including direct and counter-cyclical payments.

Australia wanted an explanation of the “the rationale and methodology for the revised notification method” for crop insurance expenditures and whether these are “non-product-specific support.”

Brazil asked the United States to explain why the Supplemental Crop Revenue Assurance program was not included in the first version of the notification as the payments totaled more than $2 billion. Brazil also asked why decoupled income support payments increased from $5.7 billion in 2008 to $6.1 billion in 2009. Canada asked questions about supports provided through RMA.