Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement

Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement

New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law

Research Handbooks on the WTO series

Edited by Joseph A. McMahon and Melaku Geboye Desta

Agriculture has been the unruly horse of the GATT/WTO system for a long time and efforts to halter it are still ongoing. This Research Handbook focuses on aspects of agricultural production and trade policy that are recognized for their importance but are often kept out of the limelight, such as the implication of national and international agricultural production and trade policies on national food security, global climate change, and biotechnology. It provides a summary of the state of the WTO agriculture negotiations as well as the relevant jurisprudence, but also, and uniquely, it focuses on the new and emerging issues of agricultural trade law and policy that are rarely addressed in the existing literature.

Chapter 11: Stretching the Boundaries of Multifunctionality? An Evolving Common Agricultural Policy within the World Trade Legal Order

Michael Cardwell

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, international economics, environment, environmental economics


Michael Cardwell I. INTRODUCTION When the European Union (EU) commenced reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period post-2013, it became immediately apparent that multifunctionality remained a part of the ‘European Model of Agriculture’: as stated by Commissioner Ciolos in Æ Dublin on 1 October 2010, ‘a fundamental element’ is that ‘agriculture has a crucial multifunctional role for our territories’ (Commission, 2010a). And when shortly thereafter the Commission issued its key Communication, The CAP Towards 2020: Meeting the Food, Natural Resources and Territorial Challenges of the Future (2010 Communication), there could be no doubt that the post-reform role for agriculture would be far broader than the mere production of food and fibre (Commission, 2010b). That said, while multifunctionality has arguably remained a constant feature of EU agriculture, the importance attached to it in policy terms would seem to vary and, moreover, its precise attributes may be regarded as somewhat protean. For example, the 2010 Communication highlights new, ‘non-productivist’ challenges, not least of these being climate change;1 yet, significantly, in light of the further new challenge of ensuring food security, renewed emphasis is accorded to the core activity of production itself. Moreover, it is unequivocally declared that ‘the primary role of agriculture is to supply food’ (Commission, 2010b: 4). This state of affairs may not perhaps be surprising, in light of frequent reiteration by the EU institutions that the CAP is an evolving policy. For example, such characterisation was prominent in the policy document which initiated the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information