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SUBSIDY WATCH BLOG

Explore news, commentary and analysis related to subsidies and sustainable development.

Stuck in reverse: recommendations on a long-term solution to a broken-down automobile industry

The dramatic decline in the demand for cars has been a signature effect of the global economic crisis. Faced with a massive drop in sales - for example, 29 per cent  in the case of Toyota and 49 per cent across the General Motors brands - the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain,  and more recently, South Korea, Brazil, Japan and China have concluded that government bail-outs are both justifiable and necessary for the health of their auto sectors.

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The Gallagher Review: False Solutions to a Real Problem

Last month, Oxfam GB launched an emergency appeal for East Africa. Oxfam’s last call for emergency help for the region was in 2006, and there have been countless others before, precipitated by drought, conflict or, like now, both. But this time, something is different. There is food on shelves, but people can’t afford it.

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Fertilizer Subsidies in Malawi: Preparing an Exit Strategy

During the 1990s, Malawian farmers experienced a rough transition from government policies that controlled and supported the agricultural sector, such as fertilizer subsidies and price stabilization, to a more liberalized agricultural policy environment.

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The Problem with the European Fisheries Fund

The European Union fisheries sector is firmly part of the global fisheries crisis. In Europe more than 80% of known resources are over-fished, while overseas EU fleets have done more than their share to bring commercial productivity of the oceans to an all-time low.

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The True Price of Energy in Asia: Pricing Non-Costed Externalities

There are signs aplenty in rural Asia of the profligate use of energy - electrical and fossil fuel - but little evidence that such use is being assessed against its true costs. This is because supplying cheap power (and in some cases free power) is a valuable political lever. In rural Asia, the value of such 'support' can be judged by the scale of popular opposition to its withdrawal.

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Commentary: Moving pillars: A comment on the November 2007 CAP healthcheck

Direct payments were introduced during the CAP reform of 1992, allowing a transition from the earlier production-oriented CAP toward policies intended to promote rural restructuring and the positive externalities that can result from farm-related activities. Direct payments introduced in 1992, as farm income support instruments, were subsidies per hectare of crops or per head of animal.

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Subsidies to biofuels: A time to take stock

The appearance of GSI's recent survey of how OECD economies are pouring billions into subsidising biofuels provides a good time to take stock of the GSI project.   Ours is not an ideological crusade against subsidies. Subsidies are a perfectly legitimate policy tool. Spending public money to advance private ends can sometimes make sense. But those who claim that have to provide hard evidence.

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WTO farm subsidy talks: In search of a way forward

Rich and poor countries alike are locked in battle over farm subsidy spending in negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, where a 17 July draft text by the chair of the agriculture negotiations has sparked renewed controversy between delegates.   Sixty years of trade negotiations - under the WTO and its forerunner the GATT - have bequeathed only minimal controls on agricultural subsidies.

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U.S. Farm and Energy Bills: Guest Opinion

The U.S. Congress is in the process of enacting its new federal legislation in areas of agricultural and energy policy. In July, the House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill, while the Senate will tackle its version in September. Meanwhile, both Houses have passed quite different versions of the energy bill. These bills will also need a stamp of approval from the Executive Branch in the fall. Subsidy Watch has asked three experts to highlight what they consider the good and bad in these bills.

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Chocking the modern city: Fuel subsidies and the case of Indonesia

When Indonesia started subsidizing fuel in 1967, in the early days of President Suharto, the policy seemed to make sense given the staggering poverty at the time. Hyperinflation hit 650 percent, and the resulting public anger forced Founding Father President Sukarno to step down after 22 years of power. Suharto then introduced fuel subsidies as a means to keep poverty at bay.

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Sowing the Seeds of Failure: A Critique of The 2007 US Farm Bill

United States farm subsidy programs are again proving to be a major obstacle to expanding international trade opportunities at Geneva meetings aimed at reviving the Doha round of trade negotiations. Opponents of farm subsidy reform may be applauding this impasse, but there is be no reason for glee from the public at large. U.S. farm subsidy programs are broken and need to be fixed.

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The Politics of Inefficient Irrigation Technology

Call it is one of the unknown Indian ironies. Over many years, the Indian state, through its public irrigation agencies, has systematically taken over the management of surface water systems. It has taken over the job of building irrigation systems-dams, reservoirs and canals-then maintaining these and supplying water.

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Blog: Removing Fuel Subsidies: Clearing the Road to Sustainable Development

Fuel prices, fuel taxation and subsidies for petrol and diesel fuel rank high on the world's political agenda, particularly after the spectacular increases in world market prices for crude oil (up to USD 75 a barrel in August 2006) and the subsequent slide in price to around USD 54 a barrel in January 2007.

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