“Agricultural products” and “fishery products” in the GATT and WTO: a history of relevant discussions on product scope during negotiations

The WTO Agreement on Agriculture applies to those “agricultural products” as defined in its Annex 1. This definition expressly excludes “fish and fish products” from the scope of application of the Agreement. In light of this exclusion, the paper is intended to provide a historical account of the relationship between agricultural products and fishery products in the context of the negotiations leading to and during the GATT period up to the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, and some of its implications for WTO negotiations.

The paper reviews documents emanating from past trade negotiations, including minutes and reports of meetings, Members’ submissions, draft and final texts from negotiations, as well as background notes by the GATT and WTO Secretariats. The review suggests that the differentiation between agricultural and fishery products dates back to the early days of trade negotiations in the last century, even though the line between them was not consistently drawn in negotiations. Over time, the answer to the question of whether fish and fish products should be separate from agricultural products appears to have evolved with the context in which the question arose, in view of the issues at stake. In addition, the types of measures on which negotiations were focused could also help to explain, to an extent, the separation of fish and fishery products from agricultural products at the end of the Uruguay Round.

N°: ERSD-2021-12

Autores: Cédric Pene, Xiaolu Zhu

Fecha de redacción: marzo de 2021

Palabras clave:

agricultural products; fish and fish products (fishery products); protective measures; tariffs; natural resources; GATT negotiations; WTO negotiations.

Código JEL:

F13, F18, N50, Q17

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Declinación de responsabilidad 

Este es un documento de trabajo y se refiere, por consiguiente, a un estudio en curso. Refleja las opiniones de sus autores. No pretende reflejar la posición o las opiniones de la OMC o de sus Miembros y se entiende sin perjuicio de los derechos y obligaciones de los Miembros en el marco de la OMC. Los errores que puedan existir son responsabilidad de los autores.

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