Agreement on Agriculture – A Comprehensive Guide
The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is an international treaty that was established in 1995 as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agreement aims to regulate trade in agricultural products and ensure that countries can produce and export their agricultural products without being subject to unfair trade practices.
The AoA has three primary goals. The first is to improve market access by reducing tariff barriers and quotas. The second is to ensure that agricultural subsidies are not used to distort trade. And the third is to establish rules and regulations around health and safety standards in agriculture.
One of the most critical provisions of the AoA is the reduction of tariff barriers and quotas. This provision aims to reduce the cost of agricultural products by removing export subsidies and increasing market access for developing countries. This provision has allowed farmers in developing countries to sell their products in developed countries` markets without facing excessive tariffs or quotas.
The AoA also aims to ensure that domestic agricultural subsidies do not contribute to unfair trade practices by distorting market prices. The agreement establishes a new system of commitments for domestic support and export subsidies. It also sets out a framework for the reduction of domestic farm subsidies, which can be considered trade-distorting.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
The third primary goal of the AoA is to establish rules and regulations around health and safety standards in agriculture. The agreement aims to ensure that countries adopt appropriate regulations to protect human, animal, and plant health without creating unnecessary trade barriers. These regulations, known as sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, require countries to comply with specific health and safety standards for imported agricultural products.
The AoA and Developing Countries
The AoA has been widely criticized for its impact on developing countries. Many believe that the agreement has had a negative impact on countries that rely heavily on agriculture for their economy, as it has led to increased competition and reduced prices for agricultural products. Some also argue that the agreement has allowed developed countries to retain their protectionist trade policies, while limiting developing countries` ability to protect their own markets.
The Agreement on Agriculture is an essential international treaty that aims to regulate trade in agricultural products and ensure that countries can produce and export their agricultural products without being subject to unfair trade practices. The agreement has three primary goals: improving market access, ensuring that agricultural subsidies are not used to distort trade, and establishing rules and regulations around health and safety standards in agriculture. While the AoA has been criticized for its impact on developing countries, it remains an essential agreement for regulating international trade in agriculture.