AGRICULTURE: WORK IN THE WTO
The Agriculture Committee
The Committee on Agriculture oversees the implementation of the Agriculture Agreement. Its key responsibility is to monitor how WTO members are complying with their commitments. The committee, made up of all WTO members, usually meets three or four times a year.
The current chair is .
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
i.e. food safety and animal-plant health
Standards and Trade Development Facility
Helping developing countries meet food and health standards
The review process
The Agriculture Committee oversees the implementation of the Agriculture Agreement, providing members with the opportunity to share information on the implementation of their commitments.
Members can ask each other questions about the “notifications” shared by other members and may raise concerns about each other's agricultural policies.
The questions and answers are available in the Agriculture Information Management System database.
Monitoring of ministerial decisionsIn addition to its original mandate, the Committee on Agriculture has been tasked with monitoring the implementation of a number of decisions agreed by Ministers at WTO's Ministerial Conferences. Details on the work of the Committee on Agriculture regarding these decisions can be found below.
Export subsidies and agricultural trade
The committee reviews annually the growth of world agricultural trade to see if export subsidies may be a cause of trade growth. The WTO Secretariat prepares background notes on WTO members' share in annual world trade growth.
Since December 2013, the committee has undertaken annual reviews of members' agriculture export subsidies and other export measures. To aid the review, the WTO Secretariat compiles background information on members' export subsidies, export finance support, agriculture state trading enterprises and international food aid.
The committee will monitor the elimination of agricultural export subsidies, new rules for export credits, and decisions on international food aid and exporting state trading enterprises agreed at the Nairobi Ministerial in its Decision on export competition. The committee will review every three years the disciplines contained in this Decision.
Net-food importing developing countries
In line with an earlier Ministerial Decision, the Agriculture Committee monitors the possible negative effects of agricultural reform on poorer countries and on net food-importing developing countries. The WTO updates regularly a list of net-food-importing developing countries and the WTO Secretariat prepares background notes on implementation of the ministerial decision.
There are a number of provisions contained in the Nairobi Decision on Export Competition in relation to international food aid that are to be reviewed within the monitoring of the implementation of the Marrakesh NFIDC Decision.
Market access in agricultural trade
The committee is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Bali Decision on tariff quota administration which establishes a mechanism to monitor TRQs with low fill-rates. The operation of the TRQ administration decision is scheduled to be reviewed by the end of 2017, taking into account experience gained up to that time.
Public stockholding for food security purposes
The committee is also responsible for monitoring information submitted by members on public stockholding for food security purposes.
Find out more
The organization of work in the Agriculture Committee and working procedures are set out in document G/AG/1.
Observer organizations in the Agriculture Committee
- International Grains Council (IGC)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
- World Bank
The members' transparency toolkit provides information on notification formats and a handbook on notification requirements as well as links to members’ lists of commitments and other resources to assist members’ transparency in agriculture.