The Peace Clause and 1992 data Back
continued to press the EU to supply data on its direct payment
supports in 1992 for specific cereals under programmes that also
limited production (known as “blue box” programmes). The EU
replied that a breakdown for individual cereals is not available
because the payments were made on fixed areas and yields. However, it
supplied some per unit figures, which it said show that guaranteed
prices have declined and that this has not been fully compensated by
EU also argued that under the Agriculture Agreement and the committee’s
working procedures, it was not required to notify the 1992 figures.
The issue is more appropriate for the present agriculture negotiations
sessions (the “Special Sessions” of the Agriculture Committee),
and not this current agenda item in the committee’s regular
sessions, the EU said. It was referring to the committee’s work on
monitoring how members are implementing their commitments under the
Agriculture Agreement, which came into force in 1995.
said it reserves the right to raise this issue again in the
Agriculture Committee, and is considering possible further steps.
issue arises from the Article 13 due restraint provisions, i.e.
the “Peace Clause”, which restricts members’ rights to take
action against others members’ subsidies so long as those subsidies
remain within committed levels. One provision under Article 13
says the Peace Clause holds (for example under the Subsidies
Agreement) so long as agricultural supports do not exceed 1992 levels
(i.e. “… provided that such measures do not grant support to
a specific commodity in excess of that decided during the 1992
discussion was a follow up of discussions in the March meeting of the
regular Agriculture Committee. Among the other speakers at this June
meeting were Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Australia, New Zealand,
Canada and the US.
2. Implementation: Proposed fund for net
food-importing developing nations Back
subject is part of the current discussion on the implementation of the
present WTO agreements.
December 2000, the General Council instructed the Agriculture
Committee to examine problems food importing developing countries
could face as a result of the present Agriculture Agreement. More
specifically, the committee was asked to consider how to implement
more effectively the Marrakesh Ministerial “Decision on Measures
Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on
Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries”.
the time it was negotiated, some members felt that one negative effect
would be a rise in food prices resulting from the cuts in subsidies
under the Agriculture Agreement.
chairperson Yoichi Suzuki, who chairs the regular committee meetings,
has identified three issues that have emerged in the discussions that
have followed: a proposed food security fund, food aid, and technical
and financial assistance for improving agricultural productivity and
d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya,
Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia,
Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Venezuela have proposed a special
Food Financing Facility (F3) of about $1.4 billion. This fund would be
solely for implementing the Marrakesh decision, and would provide a
short-term safety net for importing countries that face short term
difficulties in financing normal commercial requirements for
purchasing basic foodstuffs. Their proposed fund would be managed
jointly by the WTO, World Bank, IMF and donor countries and eligible
discussed this informally with representatives of the World Bank, IMF
and FAO at a roundtable meeting on 18 June.
this 28–29 June committee meeting, Egypt stressed that the fund
would be run commercially (borrowers would pay interest and repay the
loans), and that its purpose would not be to delay reforms in the
eligible countries. Rather, Egypt said, the fund would increase these
countries’ confidence in facing adjustment because they would know
that they could fall back on it if food security is threatened.
Countries speaking in support included almost all the proposers, and
India and Nigeria.
said that successfully addressing implementation issues, like the
decision on least-developed and net food-importing developing
countries, could encourage developing countries “engage
wholeheartedly” in the agriculture negotiations.
Zealand, the EU, Canada, the US, Switzerland and Norway said they are
willing to continue to discuss the issue, but so far they are not
convinced that a new fund is suitable. Finance should continue to be
handled in existing Bretton Woods institutions, some said. Some also
argued that the WTO, as a rules-based organization, should not become
involved in managing funds.
questioned assertions by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and others that the
present reform is the cause of higher food importing bills in the
net-food importing and least developed countries, particularly since
in general world prices have fallen since 1995–96.
vice-chairperson will report back to the General Council, and hold
further consultations in July.
will also report on two other “implementation” issues: developing
disciplines on agricultural export credits (Article 10.2 of the
Agriculture Agreement); and improving transparency and equity in the
administration of tariff quotas.
3. Notifications and review Back
notifications were up for review. One additional notification — on
US domestic supports for 1998 — was too new for members to comment
in detail, but New Zealand and Australia said they wanted to commend
the US for including marketing loans and emergency payments under the “Amber
Box” (i.e. domestic supports that influence prices and production
and have to be reduced or be kept within specified minimal levels).
The next regular meeting is scheduled for
27 September 2001.
(The next negotiations are on 23–27 July.)