- Agreement on Agriculture
The Agreement on Agriculture is an international
treatyof the World Trade Organization. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Roundof the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO on January 1 1995.
The AoA has three central concepts, or "pillars": domestic support, market access and export subsidies
The first pillar of the AoA is "domestic support". The AoA structures domestic support (
subsidies) into three categories or "boxes": a Green Box, an Amber Box and a Blue Box. The Green Box contains fixed payments to producers for environmental programs, so long as the payments are "decoupled" from current production levels. The Amber Box contains domestic subsidies that governments have agreed to reduce but not eliminate. The Blue Box contains subsidies which can be increased without limit, so long as payments are linked to production-limiting programs. [http://www.iatp.org/iatp/publications.cfm?accountID=451&refID=25939]
The AoA's domestic support system currently allows
Europeand the USAto spend $380 billion every year on agricultural subsidies alone. "It is often still argued that subsidies are needed to protect small farmers but, according to the World Bank, more than half of EUsupport goes to 1% of producers while in the US 70% of subsidies go to 10% of producers, mainly agri-businesses." [http://www.guardian.co.uk/wto/article/0,2763,1642768,00.html] . The effect of these subsidies is to flood global markets with below-cost commodities, depressing prices and undercutting producers in poor countries – a practice known as dumping.
"Market access" is the second pillar of the AoA, and refers to the reduction of
tariff(or non-tariff) barriers to trade by WTO member-states. The 1995 AoA required tariff reductions of:
*36% average reduction by
developed countries, with a minimum per tariff line reduction of 15% over six years.
*24% average reduction by
developing countrieswith a minimum per tariff line reduction of 10% over ten years. Least Developed Countries(LDCs) were exempted from tariff reductions, but either had to convert non–tariff barriers to tariffs—a process called tariffication—or "bind" their tariffs, creating a "ceiling" which could not be increased in future. [http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm3_e.htm]
"Export subsidies" is the third pillar of the AoA. The 1995 AoA required
developed countriesto reduce export subsidies by at least 35% (by value) or by at least 21% (by volume) over the five years to 2000.
The AoA has been criticised by
civil societygroups for reducing tariffprotections for small farmers – a key source of income for developing countries. At the same time, the AoA has allowed rich countries to continue paying their farmers massive subsidies which developing countries cannot afford.
World Trade Organisation
* [http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/jhu/wtoagdev.asp WTO Negotiations on Agriculture and Developing Countries] by Anwarul Hoda and Ashok Gulati, (2007) Johns Hopkins University Press
*Text of the Agreement on Agriculture: [http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/14-ag_01_e.htm html(1)] , [http://www.takuzinis.lv/xhtml1.1/20020422.html html(2)] , [http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/14-ag.doc doc] , [http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/14-ag.pdf pdf]
*Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, [http://www.iatp.org/iatp/publications.cfm?accountID=451&refID=25939 Agreement on Agriculture Basics] 2003.
*Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, [http://www.tradeobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=48532 WTO Agreement on Agriculture: A Decade of Dumping] , Feb 2005.
*Devinder Sharma, [http://www.oxfam.org.au/campaigns/mtf/povertyhistory/docs/sharmapaper.pdf The Indian Experience of Liberalisation of Agriculture] , Aug 17, 2005.
* [http://www.ppl.nl/bibliographies/all/showresults.php?bibliography=wto&code=WTG02&topic=Goods%20%3E%20Agriculture World Trade Organization and Agriculture: Selective Bibliography] , prepared by Hugo H.R. van Hamel, Peace Palace Library
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.