Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

Annual report to General Council 2000

Below is the two-page main text. You can also download the full report including extensive data on countries’ market shares for various products, and on net food-importers and food aid.

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Annex I
Regular notifications pertaining to the 1996 to 1999 years made under the Agreement on Agriculture, as of 15 November 2000

Annex II
Members’ participation in the normal growth of world trade in agricultural products — note by the Secretariat, including data on countries’ market shares for various products

Annex III
Implementation of the decision on measures concerning the possible negative effects of the reform programme on least-developed and net food-importing developing countries — note by the Secretariat, including data on food aid, commodity prices

Annex IV
International/ intergovernmental organizations, requests for observer status in the Committee on Agriculture

20 November 2000

Committe on Agriculture (regular meetings)
General Council overview of WTO activities (2000)

Report by the Vice-Chairman

The present report on the regular meetings of the Committee on Agriculture is submitted on the responsibility of the Vice-Chairman, Minister Yoichi Suzuki, as agreed by the Committee (G/AG/R/24, paragraph 14, refers).

1.  Since its last annual report (G/L/322) the Committee on Agriculture has held five regular meetings: on 17 November 1999, and in the current year on 22-23 March, 28 June, 30 September and on 14 November (Secretariat summary reports of these meetings, G/AG/R/21 to 25, refer).

2.  In accordance with Article 18.1 of the Agreement on Agriculture (“the Agreement”), the Committee, at each of these five meetings, reviewed progress in the implementation of commitments negotiated under the Uruguay Round reform programme. This review process was undertaken on the basis of notifications submitted by Members in the areas of market access, domestic support and export subsidies. No notifications were received under the provisions of the Agreement relating to export prohibitions and restrictions in the period under review. In total 302 notifications in these three areas were subject to review, or to further review, in the Committee. At each of its meetings the Committee also reviewed the overall position with respect to compliance with the notification obligations under Article 18.2 and other relevant provisions of the Agreement. The current situation concerning compliance with notification requirements is summarized in Annex I to this report.

3.  The Committee addressed a wide range of general and specific matters relevant to the implementation of commitments that were raised, independently of notifications, under the provisions of Article 18.6 of the Agreement. A number of these matters have been subject to informal consultations.

4.  Article 18.5 of the Agreement on Agriculture provides that: “Members agree to consult annually in the Committee on Agriculture with respect to their participation in the normal growth of world trade in agricultural products within the framework of the commitments on export subsidies under this Agreement.” In accordance with the Committee’s Working Procedures (G/AG/1, paragraph 17, refers), these consultations were undertaken at the November 1999 and 2000 meetings of the Committee on the basis, inter alia, of a Secretariat Note, G/AG/W/32 (revision 3 of which is attached as Annex II to this report).

5.  In line with relevant instruction of the General Council at its Special Session on 18 October 2000, the Committee at its meeting on 14 November considered the implementation of Article 10.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture concerning the development of internationally-agreed disciplines to govern the provision of export credits, export credit guarantees or insurance programmes, as well as the related paragraph 4 of the Marrakesh Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries. A separate report on the Committee’s progress on this issue is to be submitted to the regular meeting of the General Council to be held on 7-8 December.

6.  Article 16.1 of the Agreement provides that developed country Members of the WTO shall take such action as is provided for within the framework of the Marrakesh Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries. In accordance with Article 16.2 of the Agreement, the Committee on Agriculture has continued to monitor the follow-up to the Marrakesh Ministerial Decision at its regular meetings, including the recommendations of Singapore WTO Ministerial meeting with respect to the implementation of the Decision in the areas of food aid and concessionality, technical and financial assistance in the context of aid programmes, differential treatment under any agreement relating to agricultural export credits, and access to the resources of international financial institutions in connection with short-term difficulties that may be experienced in financing normal levels of commercial imports of basic foodstuffs.

7.  At the request of the Committee the Secretariat prepared a background note on the implementation of the Marrakesh Ministerial Decision and related recommendations (G/AG/W/42). An updated version of this Secretariat note (G/AG/W/42/Rev.3, dated 31 October 2000) is attached as Annex III. The Committee’s discussions on the Decision are reflected in the Secretariat summary reports of the November 1999, March, June, September and November 2000 meetings (G/AG/R/21, paragraphs 13-14, G/AG/R/22, paragraph 21, G/AG/R/23, paragraph 38, G/AG/R/24, paragraph 16, and G/AG/R/25, refer).

8.  The WTO list of net food-importing developing countries as established by the Committee currently comprises the 48 least-developed countries as recognized by the United Nations, and the following 19 developing country Members of the WTO: Barbados, Botswana, C˘te d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Venezuela (G/AG/5/Rev.3).

9.  The following international intergovernmental organizations have regular observer status in the Committee: FAO, the IMF, the International Grains Council, the OECD, UNCTAD, the UN World Food Programme and the World Bank. No consensus was reached as regards requests for observer status by 10 other international/intergovernmental organizations (G/AG/W/29/Rev.4 refers, attached as Annex IV).

10.  The Committee adopted the following schedule of provisional dates for meetings in 2001: 27-28 March, 26-27 June, 25-26 September and 13-14 November.

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