New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law
Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Joseph A. McMahon and Melaku Geboye Desta
Chapter 4: The Impact of WTO Agricultural Trade Rules on Food Security and Development: An Examination of Proposed Additional Flexibilities for Developing Countries
4 The impact of WTO agricultural trade rules on food security and development: an examination of proposed additional ﬂexibilities for developing countries Alan Matthews I. INTRODUCTION Disciplines on agricultural trade measures and trade-distorting domestic subsidies to agriculture were included for the ﬁrst time in the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) which came into force for WTO member countries in 1995. Since then, there has been a continuing debate over whether these disciplines are appropriate for developing countries seeking to promote their agricultural development and food security (De Schutter, 2009; Diaz-Bonilla and Ron, 2010; Gonzalez, 2002). Criticisms range from arguments that the AoA rules are lop-sided and essentially favour developed countries which can continue to heavily support their agricultural sectors, that they constrain the ability of developing countries to pursue their agricultural development and food security policies, and even that they undermine the right to food of developing countries. There is a widespread perception that developing countries got a raw deal in the AoA. It is certainly the case that the extent of the additional market access oﬀered by developed countries was less than was hoped for (Ingco, 1995). Based on their experience of the implementation of the WTO agreements, developing countries prepared a list of implementation issues in 1999 aimed at removing the serious imbalances and inequities they perceived in these agreements. When the Doha Round of trade negotiations was launched in 2001, all countries agreed that a primary objective was to foster development in poorer developing countries...
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