50 Years of Conflict and Convergence
Chapter 4: Growing challenges to US and EU farm policies (2001 to 2014)
The Uruguay Round had changed the nature of the multilateral trade regime for agriculture as well as for other sectors. The EU and the US appeared to have entered a period of relative peace with respect to trade issues. Washington and Brussels had managed to resolve their most fundamental differences over agricultural trade matters at the multilateral level, and the new rules and commitments agreed in the Uruguay Round worked fairly well. International markets for agricultural commodities developed in a reasonably smooth fashion in the decade after the round ended, with some firming of prices in 1996 followed by a downturn in 1998. In farm policies on both sides of the Atlantic, the paradigm of market orientation, reducing distortions and decoupling support from production decisions gained more ground. Worrisome tensions over agricultural policies had given place to some degree of convergence in the instrumentation of farm support. How long would that relative peace last? The Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) called for a new round of negotiations on how to continue the process of reform.
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