Russia wants to more than triple its subsidies to agriculture according to the Novosti news agency. The bizarre thing is that it has a good argument – it only wants to preserve a level playing field with Europe where agriculture subsidies, inexcusably, are more than $90 billion per year or an astounding 50% of the value of output. If that were suggested for any other industry it would be laughed out of court.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) wants state support of agriculture in Russia to remain at the current $3-billion annual allotment but Russia wants to return to mid 1990s support levels of $10billion annually to maintain parity with Europe.
Whisper it quietly – but there is another solution. Why doesn't the EU could bring its subsidies down to Russian levels? This would give Russa billions to spend on other things and would release tens of biillions for European governments to spend on education or health or whatever. And pigs would fly.