Which Of The Following Actions By The Government Constitutes A Subsidy? (Solved)

What are government grants and subsidies?

  • Government grants (sometimes referred to as subsidies, subventions etc.) are defined by IAS 20 as assistance by government in the form of transfers of resources to an entity in return for past or future compliance with certain conditions relating to the operating activities of the entity.

What action by the government constitutes a subsidy?

A subsidy is a direct or indirect payment to individuals or firms, usually in the form of a cash payment from the government or a targeted tax cut.

When government actions subsidy cause the supply of a good to increase what happens to the supply curve for that good?

When government intervention causes the supply of a good to rise, what happens to the supply curve? It shifts to the right. What is one reason governments give farmers subsidies?

What is one reason government give farmers subsidies?

Subsidies protect the nation’s food supply. Farms are susceptible to pathogens, diseases, and weather. Subsidies help farmers weather commodities’ price changes. Farmers rely on loans, making their business a bit of a gamble.

How does an increase in excise tax placed on automobiles affect the supply of cars quizlet?

How does an increase in an excise tax on cars affect the supply of cars? Fewer cars will be made. A steel mill has fixed costs of $100 per hour and variable costs of $50 per hour.

What is a government subsidy?

subsidy, a direct or indirect payment, economic concession, or privilege granted by a government to private firms, households, or other governmental units in order to promote a public objective.

What is govt subsidy?

Subsidy. Subsidy is a transfer of money from the government to an entity. It leads to a fall in the price of the subsidised product. Description: The objective of subsidy is to bolster the welfare of the society. It is a part of non-plan expenditure of the government.

How does government subsidy affect supply?

When government subsidies are implemented to the supplier, an industry is able to allow its producers to produce more goods and services. This increases the overall supply of that good or service, which increases the quantity demanded of that good or service and lowers the overall price of the good or service.

How do government subsidies affect supply quizlet?

How does a subsidy affect supply? Subsidies will decrease the costs of production and therefore increase quantity supplied.

Why does government subsidy affect supply?

From the firm’s perspective, taxes or regulations are an additional cost of production that shifts supply to the left, leading the firm to produce a lower quantity at every given price. Government subsidies reduce the cost of production and increase supply at every given price, shifting supply to the right.

How do governments get subsidies for farmers?

Farm subsidies are administered through the Farm Service Agency. You will want to work closely with your local FSA office, which can help you identify programs and apply. You can find your state office by visiting a USDA website here: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/index. Click on your state.

What are government agricultural subsidies?

An agricultural subsidy (also called an agricultural incentive) is a government incentive paid to agribusinesses, agricultural organizations and farms to supplement their income, manage the supply of agricultural commodities, and influence the cost and supply of such commodities.

Why does the government subsidize meat?

Government subsidization of fattening animal-based products, like cheese and processed meats, lowers the price of those commodities, which means that consumers are likely to buy more of it at the expense of ignoring healthier plant-based options. This is especially true for poor Americans who can afford little else.

Why might the government implement a tax on gasoline quizlet?

the demand curve to decrease. Assume that the demand for gasoline is inelastic and supply is relatively elastic. The government imposes a sales tax on gasoline. The tax revenue is used to fund research into clean fuel alternatives to gasoline, which will improve the air we all breathe.

Which of the following are ways the government controls markets?

Governments can create subsidies, taxing the public and giving the money to an industry, or tariffs, adding taxes to foreign products to lift prices and make domestic products more appealing. Higher taxes, fees, and greater regulations can stymie businesses or entire industries.

When an excise tax is imposed on a product by the government which curve will be affected and in which direction will it shift?

An excise tax levied on consumers shifts the: demand curve downward by the amount of the tax. In the graph, the deadweight loss is: $50,000.

Subsidy Definition

A subsidy is a benefit that is provided to an individual, business, or institution, and is generally provided by the federal government. It can be either direct (as in cash payments) or indirect (as in credit card payments) (such astax breaks). It is customary for a subsidy to be provided in order to relieve some form of burden, and it is frequently deemed to be in the general public’s best interests when it is provided to promote a social good or an economic policy.

Key Takeaways

  • A subsidy is a direct or indirect payment made to individuals or businesses by the government, which is typically in the form of a cash transfer or a targeted tax reduction. Subsidies, according to economic theory, can be used to compensate for market failures and externalities in order to achieve higher economic efficiency. But opponents of subsidies point to difficulties in estimating appropriate subsidies, dealing with unexpected expenses, and avoiding political incentives from making subsidies more costly than they are useful.

Understanding Subsidy

A subsidy is typically some type of payment made to an individual or corporate organization that is receiving it, whether it is delivered directly or indirectly. Subsidies are often regarded as a special sort of financial assistance because they relieve the recipient of an associated burden that had previously been imposed on him or her, or because they encourage a certain conduct by giving financial support. Subsidies have an opportunity cost associated with them. Consider the agricultural subsidies provided during the Great Depression: it had highly apparent impacts, with farmers reporting increased earnings and the hiring of extra staff.

Money from the subsidies had to be deducted from individual income tax returns, and customers were stung a second time when food costs rose at the supermarket.

Types of Subsidies

Subsidies are often used to benefit specific sectors of a country’s economy. If it can alleviate the pressures put on faltering sectors, it can also promote new advances by giving financial assistance for their initiatives. Frequently, these regions are not adequately supported by the operations of the main economy, and they may even be undermined by activity in other economies.

Direct vs. Indirect Subsidies

Direct subsidies are those that entail the direct payment of monies to a specific individual, organization, or industry. They are also known as direct payments. Those that have no preset monetary value or that do not entail real financial outlays are referred to as indirect subsidies. They can include initiatives like as price reductions for essential products and services, which can be funded by the government, among other things. This permits the necessary commodities to be acquired at a lower cost than the current market rate, resulting in savings for individuals who are intended to benefit from the subsidy.

Government Subsidies

The government provides a wide range of subsidies to a wide range of industries. Individual subsidies include welfare payments and unemployment benefits, which are two of the most popular kinds of financial assistance. The purpose of these forms of subsidies is to provide assistance to persons who are experiencing temporary economic hardship. People are encouraged to continue their education via the use of other incentives such as discounted interest rates on student loans and other forms of financial assistance.

These subsidies are intended to reduce the amount of money that people have to pay out of pocket for insurance premiums.

Subsidies to companies are provided to assist a sector that is failing to compete against worldwide competition that has reduced prices to the point where the local firm would be unprofitable without the subsidy.

History has shown that agricultural subsidies, financial institutions subsidies, oil company subsidies, and utility company subsidies have accounted for the great bulk of subsidies in the United States.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Subsidies

Public subsidies are justified on a variety of grounds: some are economic in nature, others are political in nature, and still others derive from socio-economic development theories. In accordance with development theory, certain industries require protection from foreign competition in order to maximize domestic advantage. Technically speaking, a free market economy is one that is devoid of subsidies; the introduction of a subsidy changes a free market economy into a mixed economy. Economics and politicians frequently dispute the advantages of government subsidies, and by extension the extent to which a mixed economy should be allowed to exist in a given country.


Pro-subsidy Economists say that providing subsidies to certain industries is essential for assisting in the support of firms and the employment they produce. The mixed economy is supported by economists who think that subsidies are justified in order to offer the socially optimal level of goods and services, which will lead to economic efficiency as a result of the mixed economy. In modern neoclassical economic models, there are instances in which the real supply of an item or service goes below the theoreticalequilibriumlevel, resulting in an undesired shortage and what economists refer to as a market failure.

  1. The subsidy decreases the cost of bringing the item or service to market for the producers who receive it.
  2. In other words, according to general equilibrium theory, subsidies are required when a market failure results in an insufficient amount of output in a particular area of the country.
  3. Some claim that commodities or services produce what economists refer to as “positive externalities,” which are beneficial to the economy.
  4. However, because the third party is not a direct participant in the decision, the activity will only take place to the degree that it directly helps those who are directly engaged, leaving potential societal benefits on the table as a result of this.
  5. The inverse of this type of subsidy is the imposition of a charge on activities that generate negative externalities.

This is a common approach that is now being used in China and other South American countries.


Other economists, on the other hand, believe that free market forces should determine whether a company survives or fails. Even if it fails, the resources are redeployed to a more efficient and lucrative application. It is their contention that subsidies to these enterprises just serve to maintain an inefficient allocation of scarce resources. Subsidies are viewed with suspicion by free market economists for a variety of reasons. Many people believe that government subsidies needlessly distort markets, limiting efficient results and diverting resources away from more productive applications and onto less productive ones.

  • Official expenditure on subsidies, according to some critics, is never as successful as government predictions indicate it would be.
  • Another issue, as critics point out, is that the act of subsidizing contributes to the corruption of the democratic process.
  • Companies frequently seek protection from the government in order to protect themselves from competition.
  • Even if a subsidy is introduced with the best of intentions, without any hint of conspiracy or self-interest, it increases the earnings of those who benefit from it, creating an incentive to fight for its continuation long after the necessity or utility of the subsidy has passed.

Special Considerations

There are a number of different metrics that may be used to assess the success of government subsidies. Most economists regard a subsidy to be a failure if it does not result in a general improvement in the economy. Policymakers, on the other hand, may still deem it a success if it aids in the achievement of a different goal. Despite the fact that most subsidies are long-term failures in the economic sense, they nonetheless accomplish cultural or political objectives. When it comes to the Great Depression, we may see an illustration of these opposing assessments.

  • Their policy objective was to keep food prices from dropping further and to safeguard small farmers from being harmed.
  • However, the economic ramifications were completely different.
  • Those who did not work in the agricultural business fared badly in terms of absolute economic well-being.
  • Subventions for renewable (non-oil-based) energy sources totaled more than $60 billion in the United States Department of Energy (DOE) fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
  • The receiving firms, on the other hand, were unable to generate a profit, and oil prices fell in 2014.

People who directly or indirectly benefit from subsidies tend to be the greatest supporters of them, and the political motivation to “bring home the bacon” to ensure support from special interests is a potent magnet for politicians and policymakers alike to support them.

Wha is the difference between direct and indirect subsidies?

Evaluation of the effectiveness of government subsidies may be done in a variety of ways. When a subsidy fails to enhance the general economy, most economists consider it a failure. It may be considered a success by policymakers, however, if it contributes to the achievement of another goal. Despite the fact that the majority of subsidies are long-term failures in the economic sense, they nonetheless fulfill cultural or political objectives. The Great Depression served as a good illustration of these opposing viewpoints.

  1. Their policy objective was to keep food prices from dropping further and to safeguard small farmers from being exploited.
  2. It was considerably different in terms of the economic impact.
  3. In absolute terms, those who did not work in the agricultural business fared badly.
  4. More than $60 billion in subsidies were awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) to renewable (non-oil-based) sources of energy in the years 2012 and 2013 combined.
  5. But the receiving corporations were unable to earn a profit, and the price of oil fell precipitously in 2014.
  6. People who directly or indirectly benefit from subsidies tend to be the greatest supporters of them, and the political motivation to “bring home the bacon” to ensure support from special interests is a potent magnet for politicians and policymakers alike to favor subsidies.
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What is the position of subsidy advocates?

Subsidies are available in mixed-income societies. Proponents say that providing subsidies to certain industries is critical to assisting in the support of businesses and the employment they generate. They also argue that subsidies are appropriate in order to offer the socially optimal level of goods and services, which will result in greater economic efficiency in the long run.

What is the position of subsidy opponents?

Subsidies are prohibited in a free market economy, at least on a technical level. If a firm survives or fails, opponents of government subsidies believe that market forces should be the determining factor.

If it fails, those resources will be redistributed to a more efficient and profitable use in the future. They contend that subsidies unduly distort markets by diverting resources away from more productive applications and onto less productive ones, so preventing efficient outcomes from occurring.

How Governments Influence Markets

Subsidies are prohibited in a free market economy, at least on a theoretical level. If a firm survives or fails, opponents of government subsidies believe that market forces should be the deciding factor. It will be redirected to a more efficient and lucrative use if it does not meet its objectives. As a result of the diversion of resources from more productive applications to less productive ones, they claim that subsidies unduly distort markets, impeding efficient results.

Key Takeaways

  • It is possible for government officials to make significant adjustments to monetary and fiscal policy, including raising or reducing interest rates, which has a significant influence on the economy. They have the ability to strengthen the currency, which initially increases corporate profits and stock prices, but ultimately depreciates the currency and causes interest rates to rise. Providing bailouts is one way in which governments might intervene when enterprises or whole portions of an economy are failing or threatening to bring the entire economic system crashing down. Governments can impose subsidies by taxing the general public and transferring the funds to a particular industry, or tariffs by levying taxes on imported goods in order to raise prices and make domestic products more desirable. Increased taxes, fees, and restrictions may hamper firms and whole industries
  • Nevertheless, it is possible to mitigate these effects.

Monetary Policy: The Printing Press

Monetary policy is by far the most potent weapon in the government’s inventory, outweighing all other weapons combined. Unfortunately, it is also the most imprecise of the options available. True, the government may exert some fine control over money movement between assets by offering advantageous tax treatment to certain investments (municipal government bondshave benefited from this). When it comes to changing the monetary environment, governments often prefer to make large-scale and comprehensive adjustments.

Currency Inflation

Governments are the only institutions that have the legal authority to issue their own national currencies. Governments are constantly looking for methods to inflate the currency if they can get away with it. Why? Because inflation gives a short-term economic boost, as firms charge higher prices for their products, it also lowers the value of government bonds issued in the inflated currency and held by investors, which diminishes the value of the government bonds. Money that has been inflated may seem wonderful for a moment, especially for investors who are witnessing increases in corporate earnings and stock prices, but the long-term effect is a loss of value across the board.

This is excellent news for debtors since it means they will have to pay less in interest to retire their loans, which will again damage the people who invested in bank bonds based on those debts.

As a result of their capacity to manage everything from monetary policy to currency pricing to the rules and regulations that apply to each industry, governments have a significant and far-reaching impact on markets.

Fiscal Policy: Interest Rates

Interest rates are another popular tool, despite the fact that they are frequently employed to combat inflation. This is due to the fact that they may stimulate the economy independently of inflation. Interest rates are being lowered by the Federal Reserve, rather than being raised, which encourages businesses and individuals to borrow more and spend more money. The unfortunate result is asset bubbles, where, unlike the steady erosion of inflation, large quantities of capital are destroyed, which takes us nicely to the second method in which the government may impact markets.


Following the financial crisis that lasted from 2008 to 2010, it is no longer a secret that the United States government is ready to bail out sectors that have found themselves in financial distress. The general public was aware of this truth even before the crisis. It is eerily similar to the savings and loan crisis that occurred in 1989, yet the government has a history of salvaging non-financial enterprises such as Chrysler (1980), Penn Central Railroad (1970), and Lockheed (1970). (1971).

Bailouts have the potential to distort the market by altering the rules of the game to allow badly operated businesses to remain.

Normal market circumstances would result in the closure of these businesses and the subsequent sale of their assets, which would be used to pay creditors and, if feasible, shareholders’ equity.

Fortunately, the government only employs its power to safeguard the companies that are most critical to the functioning of the financial system, such as banks, insurers, airlines, and automobile manufacturers.

Subsidies and Tariffs

From the standpoint of the taxpayer, subsidies and tariffs are effectively the same thing. The government taxes the general population and then distributes the funds to a particular industry in order to increase its profitability. This is known as subsidization. The government imposes tariffs on foreign items in order to make them more expensive, so allowing domestic providers to charge higher prices for their own products. Both of these acts have a direct influence on the market’s overall performance and stability.

More money and resources will be invested in that industry as a result of the preferential treatment and financing provided by the government, even if the only competitive edge it possesses is government assistance.

[pagebreak] This impact can be magnified when the government serves as the primary client for a certain industry, as seen by well-known cases of contractors overcharging clients and projects that are perpetually behind schedule.

Regulations and Corporate Tax

The business community seldom expresses dissatisfaction with bailouts provided to specific industries, maybe because they are aware that their own industry may one day require assistance. However, when it comes to regulations and taxes, Wall Street is vocal in its opposition. This is because, although subsidies and tariffs might provide a business with a competitive edge, regulations and taxes can have a detrimental influence on profit margins. Chrysler was led by Lee Iacocca, who served as the company’s CEO during the first bailout.

This is a tendency that may be observed in other industries as well.

As a result, there may be a highly regulated industry with a small number of huge corporations that are inextricably linked to the federal government.

In the same way that low-tax states might entice businesses away from their neighbors, nations with low taxes will tend to attract any movable enterprises.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the financial sector, governments have a significant influence. Regulations, subsidies, and taxes all have the potential to have an immediate and long-lasting influence on businesses as well as whole industries. In order to account for this risk, prominent investors such as Fisher, Price, and others consideredlegislative risk to be a significant consideration when analyzing equities.

If a company’s competitive edge and earnings are threatened as a result of certain government acts, a fantastic investment may turn out to be not so wonderful after all.

What Are the Major Federal Government Subsidies?

Many industries are subsidized by the United States government. Photograph courtesy of Robin Jareaux/Getty Images The vast majority of government subsidies come in the form of cash grants or loans to enterprises. It encourages the participation in activities that the government desires to promote. The amount of the subsidy is determined by the value of the products or services given. Subsidies can be provided by one level of government to another level of government. This covers federal funds made to state or local governments, as well as state grants made to municipalities and school districts.

According to the definition, a subsidy is any financial benefit granted by the government that provides an unfair advantage to a certain sector, firm, or even individual.

  1. Subventions in the form of cash, such as the grants described above
  2. Tax breaks, such as exemptions, credits, and deferrals are available. Risk-bearing arrangements, such as loan guarantees
  3. Purchase policies adopted by the government that pay a premium above the free-market price
  4. Acquisition of stock in order to keep a company’s stock price higher above the market average

All of them are seen as subsidies since they lower the cost of conducting business in some way.

Farm Subsidies

Getty Images (Photo courtesy of Elly Lange). Many analysts believe that American farmers don’t even require government assistance. After all, they are situated in one of the most advantageous geographical zones on the planet. Rich soil, plentiful rainfall, and access to rivers for irrigation when the rains don’t come are all advantages of this region. Farms now enjoy all of the advantages of running a contemporary company. They have highly qualified workers, sophisticated equipment, and cutting-edge chemical research in the fields of fertilizers and seeds on their side of the fence.

  • Actually, agricultural subsidies were originally established to assist farmers who had been devastated by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression of 1929.
  • The federal government ensured that farmers would get a price that was high enough for them to stay profitable.
  • It compensated farmers in order to ensure that supply did not exceed demand.
  • It also purchased any surplus crops.
  • The majority of the subsidies went to grain producers who grow crops such as maize, wheat, and rice.
  • By 1999, farm subsidies had reached an all-time high of $22.5 million dollars.
  • Approximately 15 percent of this was deemed inefficient, unneeded, or repetitive.

More than 6 percent of this amount was spent on four “junk food” ingredients: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils, among others.

“Do maize producers require government subsidies?” several politicians wondered during the recession as they sought for ways to slash the federal budget.

Corn was anticipated to be grown on 94 million acres in 2012, according to the USDA.

By 2017, huge farms controlled the majority of the industry.

That was the case for only 4% of all farm operations.

In order to produce more food for a lower price, they depended on economies of scale.

Farm subsidies, including the $5 billion direct payment scheme, were planned to be decreased by 22 percent in the 2012 federal budget.

The richest 10 percent of farmers got 77 percent of all agricultural subsidies between 1995 and 2016.

The Deline Farms Partnership, which got $4 million in 2016, was the most generous of the 2016 recipients.

The House budget also suggested $180 billion in changes to the agriculture subsidy program, which would be implemented in the next fiscal year. Instead of farmers, the food stamp program was hit with a $133 billion budget decrease, hitting 8 million customers rather than farmers.

Oil Subsidies

(Image courtesy of David McNew / Getty Images.) Obama advocated for the abolition of the $4 billion in oil sector subsidies in March 2012, and the administration agreed. According to some estimates, the true quantity of oil sector subsidies is greater, ranging between $10 and $40 billion per annum. Profits from the oil industry increased at the same time as oil prices hit a record high of $145 per barrel in 2008. Subsidies to the oil sector have a lengthy history in the United States of America.

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The Deep Water Royalty Relief Act, passed by Congress in 1995, provides compensation for deep water royalties.

Since oil was just $18 a barrel at the time, this supported the costlier manner of extraction.

It asserted that this may no longer be necessary now that deepwater extraction has shown to be economically beneficial.

  • Tax Breaks for Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit – $31 billion
  • Intangible Drilling Costs – $8.9 billion
  • Oil and Gas Royalty Relief – $6.9 billion
  • Percentage Depletion Allowance – $4.327 billion
  • Refinery Equipment Deductions – $2.3 billion
  • Geological and Geophysical Costs Tax Credit – $698 million
  • Ultradeepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and other Petroleum Resources R D – $230

Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit – $31 billion; Intangible Drilling Costs – $8.9 billion; Oil and Gas Royalty Relief – $6.9 billion; Percentage Depletion Allowance – $4.327 billion; Refinery Equipment Deductions – $2.3 billion; Geological and Geophysical Costs Tax Credit – $698 million; Ultradeepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and other Petroleum Resources R D – $230 million; Passive

  • The Strategic Petroleum Reserve
  • Defense expenditures that include military operations in oil-rich nations in the Persian Gulf
  • And other such expenditures The building of the federal highway system in the United States, which favors the use of gas-powered automobiles

These federal government operations, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), are being carried out in order to defend national security rather than to promote specific activities within the oil business. Even while the intention was not to explicitly support the industry, it is possible that they did so inadvertently assist it.

Ethanol Subsidies

Costco members may fill up their petrol tanks at the gas stations operated by the wholesale corporation. Orjan F. Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis/Getty Images contributed this photo. Between 1979 and 2010, the maize business got federal subsidies totaling $20 billion. The United States Congress desired to convert output towards ethanol, which is a component of gasoline. The incentives were intended to assist producers in meeting the requirements of a 2005 federal law that mandated the production of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2012.

  1. In 2011, just 6.25 billion gallons of gasoline were produced.
  2. Producers of ethanol would have preferred to see a bigger credit of $1.10 per gallon of ethanol remain in place.
  3. When the corn subsidies expired in 2012, ethanol producers were left with a bit of an excess of product on their hands.
  4. After a while, the surplus was absorbed.
  5. Growing markets, such as Brazil, were unable to keep up with the demand for ethanol in their own countries.
  6. When the practice of converting grain into gasoline became contentious in 2008, it was attributed to the rise in food costs.
  7. That was only one of the factors contributing to the high price of corn and other commodities.
  8. The use of corn as fuel, according to many experts, is a bad use of natural resources at a time when 60 percent of the world’s population is hungry.

Even if all of the maize grown in the United States were turned to ethanol, it would only be enough to supply 4 percent of the country’s total energy requirements. (For more information, see “Ethanol Subsidy Ends, But There’s More,” MSNBC.com, December 29, 2011.)

Housing Subsidies

Those who shop at Costco may fill up on gasoline at the gas stations operated by the wholesale corporation. Orjan F. Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis/Getty Images contributed this photograph. In the period 1979 to 2010, the corn business got federal subsidies totaling $20 billion. Production of ethanol, a component of gasoline, was to be diverted by Congress. In 2005, a federal legislation mandated that 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel be generated by 2012. The incentives were intended to assist producers in meeting that requirement.

  1. For the first time in history, just 6.25 billion gallons were produced.
  2. An increase in the credit to $1.10 per gallon would have been welcomed by ethanol producers.
  3. ethanol producers were left in a state of excess after the corn subsidies expired in 2012.
  4. Over time, the surplus was depleted.
  5. Ethanol demand in developing countries such as Brazil was unable to keep up with the rising demand.
  6. In 2008, when it contributed to the rise in food costs, the conversion of grain to gasoline became contentious.
  7. One of the factors contributing to the high price of maize and other commodities was the lack of supply.
  8. Given that 60 percent of the world’s population is hungry, many experts believe that utilizing corn for fuel is a terrible use of natural resources.
  9. No matter how much maize is turned to ethanol in the United States, it would only cover 4% of the country’s total gasoline consumption demands.

Other Subsidies

The Cash for Clunkers program provided financial assistance to automobile buyers and assisted in the growth of new car sales. (Image courtesy of Bill Publiano / Getty Images.) The federal government of the United States provides a plethora of subsidies that it believes would benefit the economy. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Cash for Clunkers program in 2009 provided a subsidy to automobile dealers. A federal subsidy of up to $4,500 was made available to dealers that offered a discount on a new vehicle to customers who traded in an old one.

The scheme was implemented in 2007. The purpose was to jump-start the economy after it had been hit by a severe downturn. It also attempted to encourage individuals to purchase more fuel-efficient automobiles, therefore reducing the United States’ dependency on imported oil.

Obamacare Subsidies

Subsidies from the Affordable Care Act benefit middle-income households. Image courtesy of Getty Images More than half of the Obamacare subsidies are intended to be distributed to middle-income families and individuals. These are parents who put forth a lot of effort. They serve as food service employees, administrative personnel, and health aides, among other occupations. In addition, these are jobs that do not provide health insurance. Despite the fact that 10.6 million Americans were eligible for subsidies as of February 2018, the vast majority did not receive them.

This is due to the fact that they did not sign up for insurance through the exchanges.

Medicaid expansion and the Children’s Health Insurance Program for the poor are expected to account for just $792 billion of the total.


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Subsidies and countervailing measures

There are two main objectives of this agreement. First, it limits the use of subsidies, and second, it governs the steps that nations might take to mitigate the impacts of subsidies. It states that a nation can utilize the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system to seek the withdrawal of a subsidy or the reduction of detrimental consequences caused by the subsidy. Alternatively, the government can conduct its own inquiry and, if it determines that subsidized imports are harming domestic manufacturers, impose an additional tariff (known as countervailing duty) on such imports.

  • The disciplines outlined in the agreement are solely applicable to particular subsidies, not to general subsidies.
  • The agreement distinguishes between two types of subsidies: those that are forbidden and those that are actionable.
  • This category existed for five years, from December 31, 1999, to December 31, 2000, and was not renewed.
  • The following types of subsidies are prohibited: subsidies that impose conditions on recipients, such as meeting certain export objectives or purchasing domestically produced items rather than imported commodities.
  • They can be challenged in the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement mechanism, where they will be dealt with on an expedited timeline.
  • In every other case, the protesting country has the option to take countermeasures.
  • Subsidies that are actionable: In order to qualify for this category, the complaining country must demonstrate that the subsidy has a negative impact on its interests.
  • The agreement specifies three different forms of damage that they are capable of causing.
  • When two countries compete in third markets, they might cause damage to competitor exporters from the other country.
  • If the Dispute Settlement Body determines that the subsidy has an unfavorable effect, the subsidy must be withdrawn, or the detrimental effect must be eliminated, as the case may be.
  • Certain disciplines are comparable to those of the Anti-Dumping Agreement, while others are entirely new.

There are detailed rules for determining whether a product is being subsidized (which is not always an easy calculation), criteria for determining whether imports of subsidized products are hurting (causing injury to ) domestic industry, procedures for initiating and conducting investigations, and rules for the implementation and duration (which is normally five years) of countervailing measures.

As an alternative to having its exports subjected to countervailing duty, the subsidized exporter might agree to raise its export prices.

Nations in the least developed countries and developing countries with a per capita GDP of less than $1,000 are immune from the sanctions imposed on banned export subsidies.

The elimination of import substitution subsidies (i.e., subsidies aimed to assist domestic production and prevent importing) in least-developed nations must be completed by 2003; for other developing countries, the deadline was set at 2000.

Subventions that were previously forbidden were to be phased out by 2002 in transition economies. further information on subsidies and countervailing actions See also: Doha Agenda Negotiations (return to top of page).

Safeguards: emergency protection from imports

The World Trade Organization (WTO) allows members to temporarily restrict imports of a product (perform safeguard actions) if their domestic industry has been or is threatened with harm as a result of an increase in imports. In this case, the harm must be substantial. As long as the GATT was in effect, safeguard mechanisms were always available (Article 19). They were, however, infrequently used, with some governments preferring to protect their domestic industries through grey area measures.

  • Such agreements have been established for a wide range of items, including vehicles, steel, and semiconductors, to name a few examples.
  • It forbids the employment of grey-area measures and places temporal restrictions (a sunset clause) on the duration of any safety activities.
  • The bilateral measures that were not amended in order to comply with the agreement were phased out at the end of the year 1997.
  • Depending on the definition, an import surge that justifies safeguard action can be either an actual rise in imported goods (an absolute increase) or an increase in the imports share of a diminishing market, even when the imported goods have not grown in quantity (relative increase).
  • The World Trade Organization’s agreement establishes procedures for national authorities conducting safeguard investigations.
  • In order for interested parties to offer evidence, the authorities conducting the inquiry must make public announcements of when hearings will take place and provide other proper mechanisms for interested parties to do so.
  • There are criteria for establishing whether or not substantial harm is being caused or threatened, as well as variables that must be considered in estimating the impact of imports on the domestic sector, in accordance with this agreement.
  • Whenever quantitative restrictions (quotas) are imposed, they should not be used to reduce import quantities below the annual average of the last three most recent representative years for which statistics are available.
  • In principle, safeguard measures cannot be aimed at specific countries or imports from certain countries.

A safeguard measure should not be in place for more than four years, though it can be extended for up to eight years if it is determined by competent national authorities that the measure is necessary and that there is evidence that the industry is adapting to the new environment in which it operates.

  1. The fact that a country is restricting imports in order to protect its own manufacturers implies that the country must reciprocate in some way.
  2. It is possible for the exporting nation to react if no agreement can be reached by adopting equal measures, for example, raising duties on exports from the country that is imposing the protective measure.
  3. Exports from underdeveloped nations are protected from safeguard proceedings to a certain extent.
  4. The World Trade Organization’s Safeguards Committee is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the agreement and the compliance of members with their obligations.

During each phase of a safeguard inquiry and related decision-making, governments are required to submit reports, and the committee examines these findings. further information on safeguards

Subsidies and Countervailing Measures overview

In international trade, multilateral disciplines are the norms that govern whether or not a member may grant a subsidy. They are enforced through the use of the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement procedure. Countervailing duties are a unilateral tool that may only be used by a Member after an investigation has been conducted by that Member and after a finding that the requirements set out in the SCM Agreement have been met by that Member. Return to the top of the page

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Structure of the Agreement

Part I of the SCM Agreement states that it applies exclusively to subsidies that are explicitly supplied to a company or industry or group of enterprises or industries, and it defines the terms “subsidy” and “specificity.” Part II of the SCM Agreement specifies the terms “subsidy” and “specificity.” Parts II and III categorize all particular subsidies into one of two categories: those that are forbidden by law and those that are actionable(1), and they set specific regulations and procedures for each category.

It is established in Part V of the Agreement that a Member must meet both the substantive and procedural conditions before it may take a countervailing action against subsidized imports.

Special and differentiated treatment requirements for several kinds of developing nation Members are contained in Part VIII of the Agreement.

Parts X and XI of the Constitution provide provisions for dispute resolution and finality.

Coverage of the Agreement

Part I of the Agreement establishes the scope of the Agreement’s coverage. It establishes a definition for the word subsidy and provides an explanation for the notion of specificity, to name a few of things. Specific subsidies, as defined in Part I, are the only kind of policies that are subject to multilateral disciplines and can be targeted with countervailing measures. Subsidy is defined as follows: In contrast to the Subsidies Code of the Tokyo Round, the WTO SCM Agreement incorporates a definition of the term “subsidies.” The definition consists of three fundamental components: I a monetary donation; (ii) by a government or any public body operating within the territory of a Member; and (iii) by a public body operating within the territory of a Member.

  • Following lengthy negotiations, the notion of financial contribution was finally incorporated into the SCM Agreement.
  • Others agreed that there could be no charge on the public account.
  • The SCM Agreement was essentially a continuation of the previous strategy.
  • The Agreement also contains a list of the types of measures that do not constitute a financial contribution, such as loans and equity infusions.
  • As a result, the SCM Agreement applies not just to national government actions, but also to actions taken by subnational governments and public entities like as state-owned enterprises.
  • In many circumstances, such as in the case of a monetary donation, the presence of a benefit and the amount of the benefit will be obvious to the recipient.
  • For example, when does a loan, an equity injection, or the purchase of a good by the government result in a benefit to the recipient?
  • In the context of countervailing duties, Article 14 of the SCM Agreement gives some guidance on how to determine whether certain types of actions impose a benefit on the recipient of the benefit.
  • Specificity.
  • It is fundamentally important to recognize that a subsidy that distorts the allocation of resources within an economy should be subject to regulatory oversight.

As a result, only certain subsidies are subject to the SCM Agreement’s rules and regulations. Within the scope of the SCM Agreement, specificity can be classified into four categories:

  • Enterprise-specificity. A specific firm or group of enterprises is targeted for subsidization by the government
  • Industry-specificity. When it comes to subsidizing a certain sector or industries, the government is quite specific. Individuality in a certain region. Subsidies are targeted towards producers in certain areas of a nation’s jurisdiction by the government. Subsidies are strictly prohibited. Export products or items made using domestic inputs are targeted for subsidization by the government.

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Categories of Subsidies

According to the SCM Agreement, there are two primary kinds of subsidies: those that are forbidden and those that are susceptible to legal action (i.e., subject to challenge in the WTO or to countervailing measures). All particular subsidies may be classified into one of these groups. Subventions that are prohibited Article 3 of the SCM Agreement prohibits the provision of two types of subsidies. These are: The first group comprises of subsidies that are conditional on export performance, whether in law or in practice, and might be entirely or partially dependant on export success ( export subsidies ).

The second category comprises of subsidies that are conditional on the use of domestically produced items rather than imported goods (local content subsidies), whether as a stand-alone condition or as part of a combination of multiple additional requirements.

There is a rather small range of restrictions in this context.

This area is dominated by the expansion of obligations to developing-country Members, subject to specific transition rules (see section below on special and differential treatment), as well as the establishment in Article 4 of the Special and Differentiated Treatment (SCM) Agreement of a rapid (three-month) dispute settlement mechanism for complaints regarding prohibited subsidies.

  • Subventions that may be enforced are not forbidden.
  • There are three different sorts of negative consequences.
  • Countervailing action can only be brought on the basis of this.
  • Serious prejudice is frequently caused by detrimental impacts (for example, export displacement) on the market of the subsidized Member or on the market of a third nation.
  • Finally, there is no nullification or degradation of advantages accruing as a result of the GATT 1994 agreement.
  • The establishment of a system of multilateral remedies that permits Members to contest subsidies that have had detrimental consequences constitutes a significant improvement over the pre-WTO regulatory environment.
  • Agricultural SubsidiesArticle 13 of the Agreement on Agriculture provides specific restrictions for agricultural subsidies throughout the implementation term indicated in that Agreement (which is until the first day of January 2003).
  • Domestic subsidies that are in complete compliance with the Agriculture Agreement are not actionable on a multilateral level, however they may be susceptible to countervailing duties in certain circumstances.

Following the completion of the implementation period, the SCM Agreement will apply to agricultural product subsidies that are subject to the requirements of the Agreement on Agriculture, as set forth in Article 21 of that agreement. Return to the top of the page


Part V of the SCM Agreement outlines certain substantive requirements that must be met in order to impose a countervailing measure, as well as detailed procedural requirements for the conduct of a countervailing investigation, the imposition and maintenance of countervailing measures, and the termination of countervailing measures. A failure to comply with either the substantive or procedural criteria of Part V may result in a challenge being brought before a dispute settlement panel, which may result in the measure being declared invalid.

  1. Following the precedent set forth above, the presence of a specific subsidy must be established in line with the standards set forth in Part I of the Agreement.
  2. This sector has seen a substantial improvement with the implementation of the new SCM Agreement, which expressly permits the accumulation of the impacts of subsidized imports from more than one Member where certain requirements are met.
  3. Procedural rules are the rules that govern how things are done.
  4. One of the primary goals of these guidelines is to guarantee that investigations are handled in a transparent way, that all interested parties have an equal chance to defend their positions, and that investigating agencies provide acceptable explanations for their decisions.
  • Standing. When there is sufficient support from a domestic industry to justify beginning of an inquiry, the Agreement specifies in numerical terms what those circumstances are. Preliminary inquiry has been conducted. The Agreement stipulates that a preliminary inquiry must be carried out before a preliminary measure can be imposed
  • And Undertakings. Specifically, the Agreement establishes restrictions on the use of undertakings to resolve CVD investigations in order to avoid the use of Voluntary Restraint Agreements or similar measures that are misrepresented as undertakings. Sunset. Under the Agreement, countervailing measures must be abandoned after five years unless it is decided that continuance of the action is required to prevent the continuing or repetition of subsidization and harm. Review by a court of law. Members are required to establish an independent tribunal to assess the compatibility of judgments made by the investigative authority with domestic law under the terms of the Agreement.

Standing. Specifically, the Agreement specifies in numerical terms the conditions under which there is sufficient support from the domestic sector to warrant the beginning of an inquiry. An first inquiry has been conducted. Preliminary inquiry must take place before a preliminary measure can be enforced, as stipulated by the Agreement. Undertakings. Specifically, the Agreement establishes restrictions on the use of undertakings to settle CVD investigations in order to discourage the use of Voluntary Restraint Agreements or similar measures that are misrepresented as undertakings; Sunset.

Review by a judge As a condition of the Agreement, Members must establish an independent tribunal to examine whether or not the conclusions of the investigative body are consistent with national law.

TransitionRules and Special and DifferentialTreatment

Countries in the developed world For members who are not otherwise qualified for special and differentiated treatment, the SCM Agreement provides a three-year transition period from the date on which the agreement becomes effective for them to phase out banned subsidies. Subsidies of this nature must be reported within 90 days of the coming into effect of the WTO Agreement for the member who is reporting them. Developing countries are those that are still in the process of developing. Under the SCM Agreement, developing country Members are divided into three categories: least-developed members ( LDCs), members who have an annual gross national income per capita of less than $1000 per year, members who are mentioned in Annex VII of the SCM Agreement, and other developing nations.

  1. The restriction on export subsidies, for example, does not apply to LDCs and Members with a GNP per capita of less than $1000 per year mentioned in Annex VII, which are excluded from the prohibition.
  2. Import substitution subsidies must be phased out over a period of eight years for LDCs and five years for the other developing nation members.
  3. For example, many subsidies associated to developing nation Members’ privatization programs are not actionable on a global level, according to the World Trade Organization.
  4. Members undergoing the transition to a market economy Members undergoing a transformation to a market economy are allowed a seven-year term in which to phase down banned subsidies from their operations.
  5. Members who are undergoing transition are also given special attention when it comes to actionable subsidies.


The industrialized world It will take three years from the date on which the SCM Agreement becomes effective for them to phase down banned subsidies if they are not otherwise entitled for special and differentiated treatment. Subsidies of this nature must be reported within 90 days of the coming into effect of the WTO Agreement for the member who is reporting the subsidy. Developing countries are those that are still in the process of developing their infrastructure and their economies. Developing nation Members are classified as follows under the SCM Agreement: least-developed countries (LDCs), developing countries with a GNP per capita of less than $1000 per year (as defined in Annex VII to the SCM Agreement), and other developing countries.

Export subsidies are excluded from the restriction on export subsidies in the case of LDCs and Members with a GNP per capita of less than $1000 per year stated in Annex VII.

Import substitution subsidies must be phased out over a period of eight years for LDCs and five years for other developing nation Members.

Several subsidies associated to the privatization programs of developing country Members, for example, are not actionable on a multilateral basis.

In the process of becoming more market-oriented, members Members undergoing a transformation to a market economy are granted a seven-year timeframe in which to phase down banned subsidies from their organizations.

Furthermore, members who are undergoing transition are given priority consideration when it comes to claiming actionable subsidies. Returning to the beginning

Dispute Settlement

The SCM Agreement usually depends on the DSU’s dispute settlement standards to resolve disagreements between parties. The Agreement, on the other hand, provides substantial special or supplementary dispute settlement rules and processes that, among other things, provide for quicker proceedings, notably in the case of claims of unlawful subsidies, among other things. As part of this, it establishes particular channels for the collection of information essential to determine whether or not there has been substantial bias in actionable subsidy instances.

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