Background to the agriculture negotiations

To understand WTO members' negotiating positions, concerns and objectives, it is instructive to review how talks have evolved over the last two decades — a period of tremendous change in markets for food and agriculture, and for the global policy environment.

The first major reform was the result of the 1986–94 Uruguay Round negotiations, which produced the present Agriculture Agreement. In it, governments started to close agricultural loopholes in WTO agreements by binding and cutting tariffs, removing import bans or restrictions, and cutting subsidies that distort trade, both in domestic markets and on exports. Poorer countries are allowed more lenient terms, and least developed countries have not made any reduction commitments.

An important area of work in the WTO is monitoring how governments are implementing their obligations under the agreement and discussing issues that arise, in the regular Agriculture Committee.

Negotiations initiated in 2000 pursuant to Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture aim to continue the reform process.


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Regular work: monitoring and implementation of the Agriculture Agreement



Explanations and full coverage of the proposal to reduce cotton subsidies, open markets and provide development assistance

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