Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

AGRICULTURE: EXPLANATION
Summary

This summary provides an overview of key elements of the Agreement on Agriculture and the related commitments, as described in previous pages. The legal text of the Agreement on Agriculture can be downloaded from here.

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Agreement on Agriculture
:
Download the text here

CONTENTS
Introduction
Market access
Domestic support
Export competition/subsidies
Other issues
Net food-importing developing countries
> Summary
Abbreviations

ON THIS PAGE
Market access
Domestic support
Export subsidies
Export prohibitions and restrictions
Other aspects
Sanitary/phytosanitary measures


Key elements of the Agreement on Agriculture and related commitments

 
Market Access  back to top

Instrument What it says or deals with
Article 4.2 Prohibition on the use of restrictions on imports other than tariffs;
Article 4.1 and Schedules All tariffs bound;
Article 5 Special agriculture safeguard mechanism against import volume surges or import price declines below a trigger level (limited to "tariffied" products and not applicable to imports under related tariff quota commitments);
Schedules Tariffs resulting from conversion of non-tariff border measures under negotiating modalities ("tariffication") plus pre-existing tariffs on all other agricultural products to be reduced;
Schedules Implementation of current and minimum access opportunity commitments in respect of tariffied products.
  Developed Countries Developing Countries
Schedules Average tariff reductions of 36% (minimum 15%) over 6 years. Average tariff reductions of 24% (minimum 10%) over 10 years;

Where "ceiling bindings" commitments undertaken reductions not required except on ad hoc basis;

Least developed not required to undertake reduction commitments.

 
 
Domestic support  back to top

Instrument What it says or deals with
Article 6, 7 and Annex 2 Policies divided into two groups; (i) permitted policies (Green Box), (ii) other policies included in the Aggregate Measure of Support (AMS) subject to reduction commitments (Amber Box);
Article 6.5 Decoupled direct payments associated with production limiting programmes (Blue Box) not in Green Box but excluded from AMS.
  Developed Countries Developing Countries
Article 6.2 De minimis provision allows exclusion of support less than 5% of output value from AMS; Developing countries allowed to use some types of investment and input subsidies under certain conditions;
Article 6.4(a) and (b) Total AMS support to be reduced by 20% over 6 years. De minimis provision allows exclusion from AMS of product-specific and non-product specific support less than 10% of respective current output value;
Schedules   Total AMS support to be reduced by 13.3% over 10 years;
Schedules   Least-developed countries must bind AMS support level if applicable but not required to reduce it.

 
 
Export subsidies  back to top

Instrument What it says or deals with
Article 9 Definition of export subsidies subject to reduction;
Article 10 Other export subsidies subject to anti-circumvention provisions which include disciplines relating to food aid;
Article 3.3 Prohibition on the use of export subsidies on products not subject to reduction commitments.
  Developed Countries Developing Countries
Schedules Distinct reduction commitments on both volume (21%) and budgetary outlays (36%) over six years; Two-thirds of the reduction required for developed countries over ten years;
Article 11 For incorporated/processed products budgetary outlays only (36%).  
Article 9.4   Exception during the implementation period in respect of certain marketing and internal transportation subsidies.

 
 
Export prohibitions and restrictions  back to top

Instrument What it says or deals with
Article 12 Requirement for advance notice and obligation to consult on request and supply information in case of new export restrictions on foodstuffs.
  Developed Countries Developing Countries
Article 12.2   Exception for developing countries that are net-exporters of the foodstuff concerned.

 
 
Other aspects  back to top

Instrument What it says or deals with
Article 13 Peace Clause;
Article 17 WTO Committee on Agriculture given the task of overseeing the implementation of the Agreement and related commitments;
Article 16 Marrakesh Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries.

 
 
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures  back to top

Instrument What it says or deals with
Article 14 Separate Agreement: Reaffirms right to countries to set their own health and safety standards provided they are justified on scientific grounds and do not result in arbitrary or unjustified barriers to trade; encourages use of international standards; includes certain special and differential treatment provisions

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