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 .

See also:

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 decisions

In 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.

Agriculture Committee proceedings

Search Documents Online
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  • Annual reports of the committee to the Goods Council (for the General Council’s overview of WTO activities) (Document code varies)   > search   > help
  • Summary reports (minutes) of regular meetings of the Agriculture Committee (Document code G/AG/R/*)   > search   > help
  • Questions and answers from members in Agriculture Committee meetings, released publicly since the March 2010 meeting (Document code G/AG/W/* and “points raised by members under the review process”)   > search   > help

See also:

> Notified information and questions and answers in the committee: Agriculture Information Management System

> agriculture negotiations documents

Other data and official documents on agriculture

> Tariff database

Search Documents Online
Documents on agriculture use the code G/AG/*. Under the Doha agenda’s trade negotiations mandate, they use TN/AG/* (where * takes additional values).
These links open a new window: allow a moment for the results to appear.

> help with downloading these documents

  • All notifications on agriculture: (Document code G/AG/N/*)
      > search
  • Notifications on export restrictions under Article 12.1(b) (ER:1)
      > search
  • Notifications on measures concerning net-food importing developing countries under Article 16.2  (NF:1)
      > search
  • Notifications on domestic support under Article 18.3  (DS:1, DS:2)
      > search
  • Notifications on export subsidies under Articles 10 and 18.2
    (ES:1, ES:2, ES:3)
      > search
  • Notifications on tariff and other quotas under Article 18.2 (MA:1, MA:2)
      > search
  • Notificationson special safeguards under Articles 5.7 and 18.2 : (MA:3, MA:4, MA:5)
      > search
  • Least-developed and net food-importing developing countries:
     general documents (Document code varies)   > search
    - annual monitoring exercise (Document code G/AG/GEN/* and keyword “Annual Monitoring Exercise”)   > search
    - list of countries (Document code varies)   > search
  • Supporting tables relating to commitments on agricultural products in Part IV of the schedules (Document code G/AG/AGST/*)   > search
  • Data: members’ shares of world trade in agricultural products (Document code G/AG/W/32/*)   > search
  • Working documents of the Agriculture Committee (Document code G/AG/W/*)
      > search
  •  Disputes (requests for consultations) involving agriculture (Document code varies) > search

You can perform more sophisticated searches from the Documents Online search facility (opens in new window) by defining multiple search criteria such as document symbol (i.e. code number), full text search or document date.

Observer organizations in the Agriculture Committee

 

Committee meetings

 

 

Members’ transparency toolkit

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.