TRADE AND AGRICULTURE: Negotiating a New Agreement?

Edited by Joseph A. McMahon

After the failure of the Ministerial meeting in Seattle a new round of agricultural negotiations was launched on March 24, 2000 in Geneva. After the first meeting the Director General expressed optimism that a positive outcome would result from the negotiations. One of the purposes of this work is to assess the extent of the problems that are to confront the negotiators of a new Agreement on Agriculture.

Part I of the book includes a chapter on the history of international trade regulation and agriculture before a prolonged discussion of the various issues to be raised in the new round of new negotiations. Chapter 2, written by two of the leading authorities in this area, discusses three categories of issues that will be important in these negotiations. The first category is that of the “core” agenda, mandated by Agreement on Agriculture. The second category of issues, referred to as “new” issues, includes issues such as state trading, the administration of tariff rate quotas and the question of export restrictions. The final category of issues are those that currently lie outside the scope of the Agreement on Agriculture itself. The position of developing countries is then addressed, the conclusion offered is that the latest round of negotiations offers probably the best prospects ever for developing countries in general, and their rural communities in particular, to secure growth-enhancing reforms. This includes a number of policy options for the future agenda of the WTO, which would entail a much more co-ordinated effort involving the WTO and international development finance institutions than has been the case up to now.

Part II examines the emergence of the DSU as a single, integrated system for the settlement of disputes. Separate chapters address the DSU, the question of developing country practice under the DSU and disputes involving the Agreement on Agriculture.

Part III is devoted to a number of issues currently outside the scope of the existing Agreement. This part begins with a discussion of the issue of Labour Rights which is particularly appropriate given the disruption of the Seattle meeting by the emerging movement against the global expansion of capitalism and continues with another difficult area for the WTO, namely competition. The next three chapters examine problems arising from the interface between Intellectual Property Rights and agriculture. This includes separate chapters addressing the issues of biotechnology, the protection of intellectual property rights in plant varieties and the extent to which the emergence of genetically modified organisms is generating policy reactions which may lead to trade disputes in the WTO. The final two chapters of the collection address the issue of trade and the environment.

ISBN 10: 1 874698 81 3

ISBN 13: 978 1 874698 81 4

• Hardback • 483pp • 2001 • £95.00