The European Commission pointed the finger squarely at Washington after EU farm ministers reached a deal to reform the long-disputed Common Agricultural Policy. "There are a lot of schoolmasters telling us in the last few months that we have to do our homework. Now it's up to others to do their homework," said EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler.
"For example, thinking of our American friends: Contrary to what the EU has done over the last few years, they've resurrected a lot of the trade-distorting policies of the past and actually increased agricultural support enormously.
"You should really practice what you preach," he said.
But one U.S. official said the United States had a "much lower level of support" for its farmers than the EU, and had proposed further cuts in the WTO talks "which would require everyone to make cuts including ourselves."
"We wouldn't feel like we are necessarily the bad pupil in the school," he said.