Issues covered by the WTO's committees and agreements


The peace clause

Article 13 (“due restraint”) of the Agriculture Agreement protects countries using subsidies which comply with the agreement from being challenged under other WTO agreements. Without this “peace clause”, countries would have greater freedom to take action against each others’ subsidies, under the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement and related provisions. The peace clause is due to expire at the end of 2003.


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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.

Some countries want it extended so that they can enjoy some degree of “legal security”, ensuring that they will not be challenged so long as they comply with their commitments on export subsidies and domestic support under the Agriculture Agreement.

Some others want it to lapse as part of their overall objective to see agriculture brought under general WTO disciplines that deal with governments’ ability to take action against subsidies.

Some countries have proposed variants. Canada would like to see “Green Box” domestic supports freed from the possibility of countervailing action under the Subsidies Agreement. India proposes that something like the peace clause should be retained but only for developing countries, so that some subsidies are free from the possibility of countervailing duty.

Proposals referring to the peace clause submitted in Phase 1


The draft frameworks  back to top

(see Cancún ‘framework’ proposals)

The US-EU draft includes the peace clause under issues still to be discussed. Norway calls for it to be continued. The Pérez del Castillo text lists it among issues still to be discussed. The Derbez draft proposes extending the peace clause by an unspecified number of months.


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August 2004 framework: the peace clause 

The August 2004 framework does not mention the peace clause.


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