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Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

AGRICULTURE

Self-training module on Notification Requirements under the Agreement on Agriculture (1)

This training module has been developed by the Secretariat to act as a useful e-learning tool to assist members in preparing notifications in the area of agriculture. It is based on the Handbook(2) on Notification Requirements under the Agreement on Agriculture.

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Why are detailed notification requirements and formats used in the field of agriculture?
Why does the Committee on Agriculture need them?

This stems from the Committee’s overseeing functions, as laid out in Article 18 of the Agreement on Agriculture and the terms of reference contained in the Decision by the General Council on 31 January 1995 (WT/L/43).

In June 1995, the Committee on Agriculture adopted detailed notification requirements and formats, in order to facilitate the Review Process to be undertaken at each formal meeting. These are contained in documents G/AG/2 and G/AG/2/Add.1.

The scope of the notification requirements in the field of agriculture covers the following five distinct areas:

1. Market access, in relation to:

  • tariff and other quotas

  • special safeguard actions

2. Domestic support, in relation to:

  • the Current Total Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS)

  • the introduction of new, or modification of, domestic support measures for which an exemption from reduction commitments is claimed

3. Export subsidies and anti-circumvention of export subsidy rules

4. Export prohibitions or restrictions

5. Implementation of the Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries (NFIDC Decision).

In many cases only a limited number of notification requirements will apply for a particular WTO member. This is because they largely depend on the specific commitments as set out in each member's Schedule of commitments, as well as on the actions that may be taken by that member in any given implementation year.

Some notification requirements are periodic. They are to be regularly submitted to the Committee on Agriculture in line with the frequency and deadlines established in G/AG/2.

Some notification requirements are ad hoc. Notifications become due only where a specific measure is introduced, or about to be introduced. The attached summary table pdf presents an overview of various notification obligations.

As part of its monitoring functions, the Committee reviews members’ implementation of the commitments on the basis of members’ notifications (see also G/AG/1). To strengthen the effectiveness of the Review Process undertaken by the Committee on Agriculture, members recognize the need to improve the timeliness and completeness of notifications in accordance with the adopted procedures and formats.

The training module has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat in response to such needs. The content has been organized into six section covering the above-mentioned notification requirements. Test questions have been included under each section.

1. Notification requirements in relation to tariff and other quotas (Table MA:1 and Table MA:2) pdf

2. Notification requirements in relation to special safeguards (Table MA:3 to MA:5) pdf

3. Notification requirements in relation to domestic support (Table DS:1 and Table DS:2) pdf

4. Notification requirements in relation to export subsidies (Table ES:1 to ES:3) pdf

5. Notification requirements in relation to export prohibitions or restrictions (Table ER:1) pdf

6. Notification requirements in relation to the NFIDC Decision(3) (Table NF:1) pdf

Test summary

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Notes:
1.
This training module has been prepared under the Secretariat’s own responsibility and is without prejudice to the positions of members or to their rights or obligations under the WTO. back to text
2. available on the WTO website and it is expected to be published shortly in all three official languages. back to text
3. Implementation of the Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries. back to text