The WTO Agreements Series: Agriculture, 3nd Edition (2016)

The WTO Agreement Series

image of The WTO Agreements Series: Agriculture, 3nd Edition (2016)

This new edition provides an introduction to the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture, outlining its key principles, the work of the Agriculture Committee, and how disputes have interpreted WTO law on agriculture. The publication includes the full text of the Agriculture Agreement as well as the decisions taken on agriculture at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference. A frequently asked questions section provides a handy overview of the Agriculture Agreement and the issues covered by it. The publication also provides an update on agriculture negotiations at the WTO. This publication forms part of the WTO Agreements Series, a set of compact booklets on selected WTO agreements. Other publications in the series include Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade.



Agriculture Agreement

Historically, governments have intervened in the agriculture sector more than in other sectors. Agriculture was always covered by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which entered into force in 1948. But numerous exemptions meant agricultural trade escaped most of the disciplines that applied more generally to trade in industrial products. The result was the widespread use of measures that obstructed imports — import bans, limits on quantities that could be imported (quotas), high import duties, import duties whose rates varied and so created market uncertainty, minimum import prices, and various impediments not related to tariffs such as regulations and the activities of state trading enterprises. Major agricultural products such as cereals, meat, dairy, sugar and a range of fruits and vegetables faced trade barriers on a scale unseen in the rest of merchandise trade.


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