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The WTO at Twenty

Challenges and Achievements

image of The WTO at Twenty

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.

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Introduction

The WTO's first 20 years have certainly not been without challenges. Its Doha Round of trade negotiations has made slow progress as WTO members grapple with the tough and complex issues raised by deepening integration. Its dispute settlement system is dealing with a growing number of trade conflicts – often involving the biggest trade powers and the most contentious policy questions – as the world's economies become more intertwined. As a main locus of global economic coordination, the WTO also finds itself at the centre of growing debates about globalization, development, climate change and many other issues that now transcend national borders – placing the world trading system in the public spotlight as never before. These challenges should not be underestimated. But nor should it be forgotten that they are the result not of the WTO's failings but of its successes. Having created an unprecedentedly open and integrated world trading order – the most far-reaching system of global economic cooperation in history – the WTO now faces the often formidable task of managing it.

English

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