Experience to Date and Assessment
A key pillar of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture limits trade-distorting agricultural domestic support. Commitments for certain countries are tightened and extended under proposed rules in the stalled Doha Round negotiations. The Doha constraints are more stringent, but notified support of major economies such as the United States and the European Union is already within the final Doha limits. How has this happened and what value would a Doha agreement have?
To answer these questions, the evolution of farm policies in eight developed and developing countries (US, EU, Japan and Norway; Brazil, India, China and the Philippines) is examined. An assessment is made of how they have notified their support – or could notify where there are missing submissions. The assessment illuminates the complexity of WTO domestic support issues. The extent to which the WTO agreement has affected support levels and promoted policy reform is evaluated, and the proposed Doha rules and commitments are assessed. The seminar addresses what is needed beyond Doha to make further progress in tracking accurately and imposing meaningful constraints on policies that distort agricultural production and trade.
The seminar draws upon the newly published book WTO Disciplines on Agricultural Support: Seeking a Fair Basis for Trade edited by David Orden, David Blandford, and Tim Josling (Cambridge University Press, 2011). After an overview of the main findings by David Orden, Ambassador Clayton Yeutter will present his observations as one of the leaders of the negotiations that created the WTO. Comments by David Blandford and Tim Josling will lead into the general discussion.