Agriculture and the WTO

Agriculture and the WTO

Towards a New Theory of International Agricultural Trade Regulation

Elgar International Economic Law series

Fiona Smith

International agricultural trade regulation remains problematic despite the creation of the WTO and a specific Agreement on Agriculture in 1995. Fiona Smith challenges this orthodoxy and presents a new conceptual method by which the problem of international agricultural trade in the WTO can be understood.

Chapter 1: International agricultural trade regulation: charting the landscape

Fiona Smith

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, economics and finance, agricultural economics, international economics, environment, agricultural economics, law - academic, international economic law, trade law


This book explores the nature of international agricultural trade regulation; in particular, why successful regulation remains so elusive despite many attempts through multilateral trade negotiations and suggestions for reform made by academic commentators and civil society. These ideas are explored against the background of the three regulatory pillars of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and implications for future regulatory design are considered. Consequently, this book is not a detailed exposition of the rules governing international agricultural trade in the Agreement on Agriculture and other linked and associated agreements. There are many excellent books in this area already which address these issues in a clear and detailed way.1 Instead, this book analyses the rules to the extent that they are indicative of, or reveal, what the problem of international agricultural trade regulation is and how it is understood. This book should not be regarded as an introductory text in the sense that its coverage is comprehensive therefore. Whilst it tries to be accessible to the novice reader, it is really designed to start where the other commentaries end, so it assumes a level of familiarity with the rules. History shows that agriculture plays a pivotal role in international trade discussions and has on many occasions been the reason for the collapse of several rounds of multilateral trade talks.2 Despite this, discussion of its difficulties both 1 Anderson, K and Josling, T (eds) (2005), The WTO and Agriculture, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Desta, MG (2002), The Law of International Trade in Agricultural...

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