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THE WTO AGRICULTURE AGREEMENT: FEATURES, EFFECTS, NEGOTIATIONS, AND SUGGESTED CHANGES

CONTENTS

1.   Introduction

2.  The WTO Agreement on Agriculture

3.  Imbalances in the Agreement

4.  Failure of Developed Countries to Effectively Reduce Their Protection or Support

5. Type of Subsidies in Developed Countries May Shift, But Effect of Protection Remains

6. Effects of Developed Countries’ Subsidies on      Developing Countries

7. Reduction or Elimination of Subsidies by Developing Countries

8. Effects of Import Liberalisation on Developing Countries

9. Proposals for Modalities of Negotiations in AoA

REFERENCES

BLURB: While the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) brought world agriculture production and trade under the discipline of multilateral trade rules, the nature of its provisions and the manner in which they have been implemented have impacted differently on developed and developing countries.

By taking advantage of imbalances and loopholes in the AoA, the developed countries are able to maintain high import barriers and dole out massive farm subsidies which have an acutely distortionary effect on agriculture trade.

The countries of the South, however, have largely been barred from subsidising their farmers and have also had to throw open their markets. In consequence, heavily subsidised imports from the developed countries have come flooding in, decimating the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in the developing world.

This paper examines the asymmetries inherent in the AoA and its implementation, and draws attention to the resulting damage wrought on Third World agriculture.  Concrete and detailed proposals for changes in the WTO’s agriculture regime are then put forward as a means of redressing the existing inequities and safeguarding food security and rural development in the South.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARTIN KHOR is the Director of Third World Network, a network of several NGOs in different parts of the developing world.  An economist trained in Cambridge University who has lectured in economics in the Science University of Malaysia, he is the author of several books and articles on trade, development and environment issues.  He is a board member of the South Centre and of the International Forum on Globalisation.  He was also formerly Vice Chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission Expert Group on the Right to Development and a consultant in several research studies under the United Nations.

 


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