After 8 years, 30 days to sanctions

With the approval of the World Trade Organization, Brazil is set to impose tariffs on a range of U.S. products and commodities in retaliation for U.S. government subsidies to American cotton growers.

The trade dispute started in 2002 when Brazil went to the WTO with its complaint against the U.S. subsidies and their impact on Brazilian cotton. The WTO sided with Brazil in 2004 and its decision was upheld on appeal in 2005. In 2006, the U.S. agreed to comply with WTO recommendations; but a 2007 WTO review found the U.S. had fallen short on compliance. A 2008 WTO arbitration panel set the parameters for retaliatory action. (This synopsis is based on a policy statement from U.S. Wheat Associates, a trade group anxious to increase U.S. wheat’s share of the Brazilian market.)

On March 3, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, said the U.S. had 30 days to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Brazil to avoid the new tariffs. On March 8, Brazil published the list of 102 import products on which it intends to levy tariff increases. You can see the complete list here: The product descriptions are in Portuguese, but the tariff codes and percentages don’t need translation. Top U.S. import crude oil (see The Datamyne Top 5 Brazil’s U.S. Imports) is not on the list, but #2 passenger motor vehicles is.

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