The WTO General Council recently decided that the next WTO Ministerial Council meeting would be held in November this year in Geneva, rather than in June in Kazakhstan as had been planned. Although normally WTO Ministerial Conferences are held every two years, MC12, as it is called, will be the first Ministerial Cfonference since MC11 in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
That Conference was notable for its failure, for the first time, to agree a ministerial declaration affirming the continued importance of the WTO to the global trading system. Specifically, on agriculture, there were no agreed outcomes and no agreed work programme for the future.… Read the rest
The EU submitted its latest domestic support notification to the WTO for the 2015/16 marketing year on 23 August last. This notification is interesting because it covers the first full year of operation of the new CAP in 2015, as the new direct payments architecture was first implemented in that year. This post examines the trends in domestic support in this and recent notifications, and speculates on how the figures might be affected by the Commission’s legislative proposals for the CAP announced on 1 June last.
Trend in overall domestic support
The broad trends in domestic support provided to EU agriculture according to the WTO classification is shown in the Figure below.… Read the rest
We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Lars Brink, who is an independent advisor working from Canada.
This post examines the concepts and calculations of the two different agricultural policy indicators called Market Price Support (MPS): the one is used by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its measurement of producer support in its Producer Support Estimate (PSE) indicator, and the other is identified in the Agreement on Agriculture (AA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as part of the measurement of the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) indicator.
Once the United Kingdom (UK) has withdrawn from the European Union, the UK by itself will be the entity for which support to agriculture is measured under the practices or rules of international organizations such as the OECD and the WTO.… Read the rest
On 17 July last week the EU and Brazil, supported by Columbia, Peru and Uruguay, put forward a proposal at the WTO in Geneva in an effort to build momentum to reach agreement on revisions to agricultural domestic support disciplines and on a resolution of the public stockholding issue at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Council meeting in Buenos Aires in December (I will refer to this as the EU-Brazil proposal in what follows). This follows a similar joint initiative by these two WTO members to eliminate export subsidies in the run-up to the last WTO Ministerial Council meeting in Nairobi in December 2015, which resulted in the Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Export Competition.… Read the rest
One of the issues the UK must address in establishing its WTO schedule of commitments post-Brexit is the limit it will have on certain types of domestic support it can provide to its farmers. This limit will, in turn, have implications for the way in which the UK and its devolved administrations can design their post-Brexit agricultural policies, assuming that they might wish to continue to provide some support to their farmers.
Domestic support in the WTO is measured as an Aggregate Measurement of Support, or AMS. Countries which provided non-exempt domestic support in the base period (1986-88) for commitments under the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) entered a Total AMS commitment in Part IV of their WTO schedules of commitments (their Bound Total AMS or BTAMS).… Read the rest
Today, we are pleased to present a guest post by Lars Brink who is affiliated with the Global Issues Initiative at Virginia Tech University and a leading expert on domestic support issues in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
Domestic support and Bound Total AMS (Aggregate Measurement of Support) may not be high priority items, compared to market access, in terms of analysing trade distortions. Still, anything that touches on farm support and limits on such support attracts attention. This may apply also in a case of Brexit negotiations. This note is about the WTO domestic support commitment of the United Kingdom in case of a Brexit.… Read the rest
On Thursday 27 November 2014 last, the WTO General Council approved three decisions related to public stockholding for food security purposes, the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the post-Bali work programme. With these agreements the hiatus in the WTO’s post-Bali work caused by India’s position on the 2013 Bali Ministerial Council decisions has been unblocked. India had demanded a commitment to faster progress on finding a permanent solution to the treatment of official procurement prices for food security stocks under domestic support disciplines, as well as the copper-fastening of the terms of the interim peace clause, in return for its willingness to approve the Protocol of Amendment to allow the Trade Facilitation Agreement to come into effect.… Read the rest
The new WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo gave a rather downbeat assessment last week to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee on the state of play of the texts which are meant to be agreed at the Bali Ministerial Council in early December. In an earlier post I discussed the issues put on the table by developing countries to make up the agricultural element of this Bali ‘mini-package’. These include new rules to deal with underfill of tariff rate quotas, a halving by developed countries of their ceilings on allowed export subsidies, and an exemption for developing countries from regular WTO disciplines on purchases of food products from low-income farmers at government-set prices when used for public stock-holding.… Read the rest