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 6: Towards the future

Fiona Smith

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


INTRODUCTION The main body of this book has been concerned with understanding the complexities inherent in the problem of agricultural trade. It has suggested that problems of this kind are not capable of resolution but must rather be ‘managed’. A great deal of clarity might nevertheless be brought to the area (it is hoped) by a sharpened awareness of the problem. This chapter has a different aim. It offers a few programmatic thoughts on possible strategies for ‘managing’ the problem of agricultural trade in the specific context of treaty construction and interpretation. I briefly look at the nature of language and meaning and suggest that appreciation of the quality of language-use aids understanding of potential problems and pitfalls of the treaty drafting process. My discussion intends to address aspects of the drafting process distinct from those raised by questions of interpretation in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.1 This area has already been thoroughly explored elsewhere and it is not my intention to revisit this literature here.2 Instead, my approach does not replace that of the Vienna Convention, but rather suggests that the act of interpretation by the panel and Appellate Body (using the Convention’s rules) is a multilayered process. My approach accepts that the act of interpretation shows how the wording in specific rules might be understood in the future, but it argues that in addition to this, the act 1 I have elsewhere discussed my view that the Vienna Convention, whilst of course relevant to the...

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