WTO members have taken steps to reform the agriculture sector and to address the subsidies and high trade barriers that distort agricultural trade. The overall aim is to establish a fairer trading system that will increase market access and improve the livelihoods of farmers around the world. The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, which came into force in 1995, represents a significant step towards reforming agricultural trade and making it fairer and more competitive. The Agriculture Committee oversees implementation of the Agreement.

Members continue to conduct negotiations for further reform. In 2015, they adopted a historic decision to abolish agricultural export subsidies and to set rules for other forms of farm export support.

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



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.

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> See news on the agriculture negotiations

> See news on cotton


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The WTO Agriculture Agreement provides a framework for the long-term reform of agricultural trade and domestic policies, with the aim of leading to fairer competition and a less distorted sector.

The Agreement covers:

  • Market access — the use of trade restrictions, such as tariffs on imports
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  • Domestic support — the use of subsidies and other support programmes that directly stimulate production and distort trade
    Find out more
  • Export competition — the use of export subsidies and other government support programmes that subsidize exports.
    Find out more

Under the Agreement, WTO members agree to “schedules” or lists of commitments that set limits on the tariffs they can apply to individual products and on levels of domestic support and export subsidies.

> More about the Agriculture Agreement
> Detailed explanation


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The Agriculture Committee

The Committee on Agriculture oversees implementation of the Agriculture Agreement and monitors how WTO members are complying with their commitments. Members are required to share information and may ask each other questions or raise concerns about each other's agricultural policies.

> More on the Agriculture Committee
> Members' transparency toolkit


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Agriculture negotiations

Agricultural trade reform did not end with the birth of the Agriculture Agreement. WTO members are continuing to negotiate agricultural trade reform.

> More on the agriculture negotiations

WTO members adopted important decisions on agriculture at the 2015 WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. These include a commitment to abolish subsidies for farm exports as well as decisions on public stockholding for food security purposes, on a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and on trade rules for cotton.

> Find out more

At the 2013 WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, ministers also agreed on a package of issues in agriculture.

> Find out more



Events and workshops

Agriculture notifications workshop
12-15 July 2016 (English)
> Programme

Information Session:
Enhancing Transparency and the Review Process
13 September 2016

Side events

Information session organized by the Permanent Mission of France
Strengthening the resilience of agriculture through risk management: what role for public policies?
9 November 2016
> African Risk Capacity (ARC)
> Agricultural Risk Management in Brazil
> Risks and agriculture in the light of food systems globalization