Agreement In Agriculture
Before the Uruguay Round negotiations, it became increasingly clear that the causes of confusion in global agriculture went beyond the import access problems, which had been the traditional centre of gravity of the GATT negotiations. To reach the root causes of the problems, disciplines were considered essential for all agricultural trade measures, including national agricultural policy and agricultural export subsidies. In addition, clearer rules on health and plant health measures were deemed necessary, both in their own legislation and in avoiding the circumvention of stricter rules on access to imports through unjustified and protectionist application of food security, as well as animal and plant health measures. The reform of the 2003 CAP, which decoupled most of the existing direct aid, and the sectoral reforms that followed led to the deferral of most aid under the amber box and the blue box to the green box (61.6 billion euros in 2016/2017, see table below). Aid under the «amber box» (AMS) has fallen sharply, from EUR 81 billion at the beginning of the period of the agreement to EUR 6.9 billion between 2016 and 2017, even with successive waves of expansion. The European Union thus largely respects the commitments made in Marrakech (72.38 billion euros per year) for the AMS. In addition, the «blue box» reached 4.6 billion euros during the same notification period. The 1947 GATT initially applied to agriculture, but was incomplete, and the signatory states (or «contracting parties») excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the general agreement. During the period 1947-1994, members were allowed to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials faced trade barriers in unusual proportions in other sectors. The road to a fair, market-oriented agricultural trade system has therefore been difficult and time-consuming; and the negotiations were finally concluded during the Uruguay Round. Agriculture has a special status in WTO agreements and trade agreements (signed in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995), with the sector having a specific agreement, the agriculture agreement, whose provisions prevail.