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Biofuels Subsidies and the Law of the World Trade Organisation

Biofuels Subsidies and the Law of the World Trade Organisation

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This paper reviews biofuel measures that are commonly used in major producing countries against WTO subsidies disciplines. These measures are found in a range of laws and policies relating to energy, the environment and agriculture. There is little evidence that domestic policymakers have taken into account WTO disciplines when crafting these measures. This paper identifies a number of issues for policymakers to consider, including the following:

WTO subsidy disciplines do not prohibit all subsidies or support to biofuels. Rather, the WTO rules concern themselves with subsidies that have a trade-distorting effect.
Although often cited in discussions about the WTO and biofuel subsidies, the green box provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) do not provide a broad category sheltering measures on the basis that they offer some environmental benefits. To qualify as green box support, specific requirements must be met. For example, payments under environmental programmes must be limited to the costs of compliance with the programme …
This paper reviews biofuel measures that are commonly used in major producing countries against WTO subsidies disciplines. These measures are found in a range of laws and policies relating to energy, the environment and agriculture. There is little evidence that domestic policymakers have taken into account WTO disciplines when crafting these measures. This paper identifies a number of issues for policymakers to consider, including the following:

WTO subsidy disciplines do not prohibit all subsidies or support to biofuels. Rather, the WTO rules concern themselves with subsidies that have a trade-distorting effect.
Although often cited in discussions about the WTO and biofuel subsidies, the green box provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) do not provide a broad category sheltering measures on the basis that they offer some environmental benefits. To qualify as green box support, specific requirements must be met. For example, payments under environmental programmes must be limited to the costs of compliance with the programme …

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03/11/2013

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Promoting Sustainable Bioenergy Production and Trade
Issue Paper No. 20
 June 2009
 
l
ICTSD Programme on Agricultural Trade and Sustainable Development
By Toni Harmer
Independent Consultant
Biofuels subsidies and the lawof the WTO
ICTSD Global Platform on Climate Change, Trade Policies and Sustainable Energy
ICTSD
International Centre for Tradeand Sustainable Development
 
 June 2009
 
l
ICTSD Programme on Agricultural Trade and Sustainable Development
By Toni Harmer
Independent Consultant
Biofuels subsidies and the lawof the WTO
Issue Paper No. 20
ICTSD

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