Pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which received complaints from 35 countries on this subject, has led the Costa Rican government to study a proposal to present to rice growers.
In an article published on Agroinformacion.com, the country's Trade Minister, Anabel González, is reported saying in a press conference that, "this is a technical issue and we are reviewing options. It is a subject we take very seriously due to the consequences it could have for the country".
Subsidies received by Costa Rica's rice producers is six times that permitted by the WTO, which set a limit of $16 million for agricultural subsidies. Moreover, the subsidies paid have been steadily increasing over recent years from $23 million in 2007 to $100 million forecast for 2010.
In Costa Rica, the current mechanism mainly benefits 30 large producers, who received $80 million in subsidies in 2011.
Despite warnings from the WTO, Costa Rica continues to subsidize rice production, a benefit which actually goes to about 30 large companies, rather than groups of small producers, and is "an unnecessary risk" according to the former Foreign Trade Minister Alberto Trejos, who added that "it is like going to the Country Club in Escazú to hand out Family Allowance resources."
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