By Vince Caruana, Fair Trade Cooperative
While the USA puts enormous pressure on weak countries to open their markets to American goods, threatening to reduce aid and support if they don't, it pumps in equally enormous subsidies to American industries. This policy is in part responsible for keeping many millions of Africans below the poverty line.
Cotton is a case in point - farmers in the USA now receive 70 cents per pound of cotton as direct subsidies. This amounts to a lot more than the amount paid by the US government as overseas aid to the whole of Africa.