The decision by US President Bill Clinton to approve a fresh round of farm subsidies has spurred European Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler to protest. The Commissioner is angry at what he sees as a proliferation of US government aids to agricultural production and exports. Clinton authorised a new $78bn farm package for 2001 at the end of last week. This figure includes $23b of direct subsidises to agricultural production. Fischler dubbed the package "another annual and ad hoc farm policy" on the part of the US. He said: "While the EU has frozen its farm budget, this is the fourth time in three years that the US Congress has thrown yet more money at agriculture, with serious potential consequences for world markets." There is $3.5bn for "disaster" payments, on top of money already agreed last year. There is also a possible $6.4bn for loan deficiency payments. Fischler argued that the risks to global trade are serious when the US, the world's biggest exporter of farm products, relies on such trade-distorting instruments. {{PROVISIONS }}