Wto Agreement On Agriculture Text
the obligation to meet specific binding commitments in each of the following areas: market access; Domestic assistance Export competition and reach agreement on health and plant health issues; Before the Uruguay Round negotiations, it became increasingly clear that the causes of confusion in global agriculture went beyond the import access problems, which had been the traditional centre of gravity of the GATT negotiations. To reach the root causes of the problems, disciplines were considered essential for all agricultural trade measures, including national agricultural policy and agricultural export subsidies. In addition, clearer rules on health and plant health measures were deemed necessary, both in their own legislation and in avoiding the circumvention of stricter rules on access to imports through unjustified and protectionist application of food security, as well as animal and plant health measures. While the volume of world agricultural exports has increased significantly in recent decades, its growth rate has remained below that of industrial enterprises, resulting in a steady decline in the share of agriculture in world merchandise trade. In 1998, agricultural trade accounted for 10.5% of total merchandise trade, taking into account trade in services, while agriculture`s share of world exports was 8.5%. However, in the field of world trade, agriculture still lays ahead of sectors such as mining products, automotive products, chemicals, textiles and clothing, or iron and steel. Among agricultural products marketed internationally, food accounts for almost 80% of the total. The other main category of agricultural products is raw materials. Since the mid-1980s, trade in processed agricultural products and other quality agricultural products has grown much faster than trade in staple foodstuffs, such as cereals. The 1947 GATT initially applied to agriculture, but was incomplete, and the signatory states (or “contracting parties”) excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the general agreement.
During the period 1947-1994, members were allowed to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials faced trade barriers in unusual proportions in other sectors. The road to a fair, market-oriented agricultural trade system has therefore been difficult and time-consuming; and the negotiations were finally concluded during the Uruguay Round.