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Uruguay Round Agriculture Agreement

by Brian on April 13, 2021

THE GATT remains a WTO framework agreement for merchandise trade, updated following the Uruguay Round negotiations (distinction between the 1994 GATT, the updated GATT parts, and the 1947 GATT, the initial agreement that remains the heart of the 1994 GATT). [10] However, the 1994 GATT is not the only legally binding agreement contained in the final deed; a long list of some 60 agreements, annexes, decisions and agreements has been adopted. Indeed, agreements can be merged into a simple six-pronged structure: in principle, all WTO agreements and merchandise trade agreements apply to agriculture, including the 1994 GATT agreements and WTO agreements on subjects such as customs assessment, import authorisation procedures, pre-screenings, and pre-screening , emergency measures, subsidies and technical barriers to trade. However, in the event of a conflict between these agreements and the agricultural agreement, the provisions of the agreement on agriculture apply. WTO agreements on trade in services and trade aspects of intellectual property rights also apply to agriculture. This chapter presents the context of the Convention on Agriculture. He gives a brief overview of the history of the GATT and notes that he acknowledges its origin in the 1947 agreement, the reasons for the final extension of the scope of the negotiations to agricultural trade, as well as the countries and issues that dominated the discussions that preceded the agreement. In the run-up to the 1986 GATT Ministerial Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, agricultural lobbies in industrialized countries have vehemently opposed agricultural trade-offs. In this context, the idea of excluding “trade-neutral” production and subsidies from WTO commitments was first proposed in 1987 by the United States and soon replicated by the EU. [2] By guaranteeing continued support to farmers, it has also neutralized the opposition. In exchange for the integration of agriculture into WTO disciplines and the obligation to reduce trade-distorting subsidies in the future, developed countries could maintain subsidies that result in “no more than minimal trade distortion” in order to achieve different public policy objectives.

[1] The main mechanism for progress on trade liberalization under the GATT has been the regular opening of rounds of multilateral negotiations. In total, there have been eight such cycles, from the 1947 Geneva Cycle, which was set up by the GATT, to the Uruguay Round, which ended in 1994 after the creation of the WTO. The majority of the cycles focused on promoting multilateral tariff reductions and extending agreed reductions to all members, in accordance with the MFN clause. The results are summarized in Table 1.2. The agreements reached for the two largest areas of the WTO, goods and services, share a three-part framework: the limited importance of GATT for agriculture has resulted in an ever-increasing level of protection and support for agriculture, particularly in industrialized countries, where the market share of many traditional import suppliers has fallen sharply.

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