Issues covered by the WTO's committees and agreements


Decision on net food-importing developing countries

A number of developing countries that depend on imports for their food supply are also concerned about possible rises in world food prices as a result of reductions in richer countries’ subsidies. Although they accepted that higher prices can benefit farmers and increase domestic production, they feel that their concerns about food imports need to be addressed more effectively.


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This briefing document explains current agricultural issues raised before and in the current negotiations. It has been prepared by the Information and Media Relations Division of the WTO Secretariat to help public understanding about the agriculture negotiations. It is not an official record of the negotiations.

The WTO agreements include a Decision on the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net-Food Importing Developing Countries. As a result of this decision the Food Aid Convention was recently renegotiated and concluded in July 1999 in the International Grains Council. The WTO Committee on Agriculture also regularly reviews actions within the framework of the decision, in such areas as technical and financial assistance provided by industrialized countries to least-developed and net-food importing countries to assist in improving their agricultural productivity and infrastructure.

Proposals emphasizing positions on this submitted in Phase 1


The draft frameworks  back to top

(see Cancún ‘framework’ proposals)

Kenya’s draft concentrates on special and differential treatment for developing countries, proposing in the preamble that this should allow developing countries effective access to richer countries’ markets while allowing them to have “provisions and instruments” that take account of farmers’ livelihoods, food security and poverty eradication.

The Pérez del Castillo and Derbez drafts take up the calls from Kenya, the four central American countries and the African Union/ACP/least-developed countries for disciplines on export credit to take into account the concerns of net food-importing developing countries and least-developed countries.

The US-EU draft defines a new category of countries, the significant net food exporters, and says special and differential treatment for these countries should be adjusted. None of the other proposals mention this, including the Pérez del Castillo and Derbez drafts.


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August 2004 framework: net food-importing developing countries 

In its section on export competition (paragraph 24), the framework says the final agreement on export credit, credit guarantees, and insurance programmes will make appropriate provision of net food-importing and least-developed countries.


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