The Uruguay Round and Beyond
Edited by Ramesh Adhikari and Prema-chandra Athukorala
Chapter 3: Developing-country interests in WTO-induced agricultural trade reform
Chapter 3 11/2/02 1:12 pm Page 1 3. Developing-country interests in WTO-induced agricultural trade reform Kym Anderson A great achievement of the UR negotiations was to begin at last to bring agricultural policies under mainstream GATT discipline.1 In 1986 the nonsubsidizing, agricultural-exporting countries formed the Cairns Group with the single goal of ensuring that outcome.2 The group, together with the United States and other GATT contracting parties, sought successfully for all nontariff barriers to agricultural imports (other than quarantine) to be tariffied and bound, for those tariff bindings to be scheduled for phased reductions, and for farm production and export subsidies to be reduced. The industrial countries committed themselves to implement those reforms between 1995 and 2000 (which they more or less did, but based more on the letter than the spirit of the agreement), while the developing countries have until the end of 2004. That URAA, together with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPSA) to limit the use of quarantine import restrictions to cases that can be justified scientifically, the new policy notification and review requirements, and the Dispute Settlement Mechanism (which has greatly improved the process of resolving trade conflicts), ensure that in the future agricultural trade will be much less chaotic than it was before the formation of the WTO in 1995. The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing also has great potential to boost farm exports from the Cairns Group, albeit indirectly. Much remains to be done, however, before agricultural trade is as fully disciplined or...
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