1. The General Council, the WTO’s highest-level decision-making body in Geneva, meetsregularly to carry out the functions of the WTO. The council acts on behalf of the MinisterialCouncil on the entire WTO affairs.2. The Dispute Settlement Body is made up of all member governments, usually represented by ambassadors or equivalent.3. The Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) to undertake trade policy reviews of Membersunder the TRPM. The TPRB is open to all WTO Members.
Third level: Councils for Trade
— Council for Trade in Goods, Council for Trade-RelatedAspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and Council for Trade in Services — working indifferent fields.
Fourth level: Subsidiary Bodies
— The Goods Council, The Services Council and DisputeSettlement panels and Appellate Body.The WTO operates on a
one country, one vote
system, but actual votes have never been taken.Decision making is generally by consensus, and relative market size is the primary source of bargaining power. The advantage of consensus decision-making is that it encourages efforts tofind the most widely acceptable decision.
include large time requirementsand many rounds of negotiation to develop a consensus decision, and the tendency for finalagreements to use ambiguous language on contentious points that makes future interpretation of treaties difficult.
WTO AGREEMENT ON AGRICULTURE
The WTO Agreement on Agriculture was signed as part of the Uruguay Round Agreementin April 1994
. The Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations took place during the period 1986 to1993. The WTO Agreement on Agriculture came into force with effect from 1January, 1995
It has a
10-year implementation period from 1995 to 2004
, for developingcountries. The WTO Agreement on Agriculture covers three broad areas of agriculture and trade policy:
market access, domestic support and export subsidies.
India is under no obligation to reduce domestic support or subsidies currently extended toagriculture as the support being given is well below the permissible level of 10 per cent of thevalue of its agricultural output. Under the Agreement, there can be no restrictions on farm tradeexcept through tariffs -- i.e., non-tariff barriers such as quantitative restrictions on importsthrough quotas, import licensing etc., are to be replaced by tariffs or duties on imports to providethe same level of protection to domestic agriculture and thereafter, tariff levels are to be progressively reduced. However, some developing countries like India were permitted to offer ceiling bindings instead of tariffication on account of the fact that India was maintaining QRs onBalance of Payment grounds.
Reduction commitments on export subsidies do not apply toIndia
as export subsidies as are subjected to reduction commitments under the Agreement, arenot practiced in India.
The Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations
did not bring about
trade liberalisation inagriculture,
There has been
no significant reduction in domestic as well asexport subsidies given by the developed countries to their agriculture
. The anticipatedincrease in exports of agricultural products from developing countries, therefore, has notmaterialised.
high domestic support
to agriculture in many developedcountries
is a cause for concern as it leads to low international prices for farm produce.Implementation of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture since 1995 has brought out theinadequacies inherent in the Agreement.
Government have taken a series of measures tosafeguard our agriculture sector
in the context of phase-out of QRs -- i.e., import duties on alarge number of agro and other items have been substantially increased and import of 131 products have been made subject to compliance of Indian quality standards as applicable to