The World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha round of talks was aimed at lowering global trade barriers and opening new markets. While the talks covered all global trade, agriculture was among the most hotly contested sections of the round. Developing nations want wealthy countries to cut off subsidies that can negatively affect the ability of local farmers to compete. In exchange, developing nations would open their markets to industrial goods from other countries.
U.S. agriculture policy has already been ruled in violation of existing WTO agreements; without changes to U.S. commodity subsidy programs, the United States faces continued international pressure, WTO lawsuits and potential retaliation.
The 2008 Farm Bill debates began with an eye toward understanding the ramifications of Doha discussions, but as negotiations stalled, farm bill attention shifted almost completely away from international trade implications.