Agriculture and the WTO
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Agriculture and the WTO

Towards a New Theory of International Agricultural Trade Regulation

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.
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Chapter 5: Cultural divergence, polycentricity and subsidies

Fiona Smith


INTRODUCTION The aim of this book has been to explore how we look at the problem of international agricultural trade regulation. As such it has not delved into every aspect of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the related Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) or the GATT; nor has it engaged in detailed analysis of the interpretation of the rules by the panel and Appellate Body. It is a book of ideas rather than a book concerned with doctrinal analysis in the ordinary sense. The primary aim of the book is to challenge the orthodox belief that there is only one way in which the problem of international trade regulation can be understood. I have argued that we are so embedded in the way we see the problem that there is a tendency to conceive of the orthodox understanding as akin to scientific and unchallengeable fact. This leaves little space for new solutions based on different conceptual understandings of the problem itself. The previous two chapters aimed, first, to present two new conceptual models for the understanding of the problem of international trade, and second, to relate these models to the rules on market access in detail so that the full extent of the implications of those models can be fully comprehended. Despite the level of detail involved in the discussion of market access, the discussion was not intended to serve as a comprehensive exposition of the rules; indeed, Chapter 4 only brushes the surface of this issue...

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