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WTO Commitments on Domestic Support and Compliance Issues Print
Brown Bag Seminar by Roberto J. Garcia, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Visiting Research Fellow at the World Trade Institute.
2 December 2009, 12.15-13.45, Anna Nussbaum Auditorium, World Trade Institute, Berne, Switzerland


The Uruguay Round of GATT (UR-GATT) is credited with having introduced market disciplines to international agricultural trade through various WTO agreements that comprehensively included agriculture under their scope. WTO rules and domestic support (DS) commitments on agriculture are aimed at differentiating policies designed to pursue social objectives from those with trade objectives. Particularly important were the definition of a subsidy and the categorization of agricultural support by degree of trade distortion, allowing quantification of the value of support, establishment of value ceilings and reduction commitments. If the UR-GATT rules and commitments on DS in agriculture are to be considered an overall success, then there must be some evidence of a shift away from trade-distorting support towards policies that target specific objectives even in the sensitive sectors of a country that has complied with its reduction commitments. Norway's (and Switzerland's) DS levels have persistently been among the highest for  the developed countries.


The purpose of this presentation is to report on the extent to which the WTO's disciplines in sensitive agricultural markets, where DS is extensive, have reformed policy. DS notifications are reviewed to assess WTO compliance and to evaluate the effectiveness of UR-GATT disciplines. The WTO modalities under the Doha Development Round are examined to assess whether reduced agricultural protection and greater market discipline could result. In the case of a country that is not disposed to implement policy reform, WTO rules have provided enough flexibility such that market liberalization could be avoided. Continued conceptual difficulties and flaws in the calculation of support contribute to this avoidance.

Download this abstract here.

For Roberto J. Garcia's CV click here.

SNF - Swiss National Science Foundation The National Centres of Competence in Research are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation