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WTO Agreement on

Agriculture:
Whats it all about?
What should be our advocacy?

What is the AoA?

Part of GATT Uruguay Round


agreements
It is a new area of coverage
3 Elements or Main Pillars:
1. Increased Market Access
2. Reduction of Domestic Support
3. Elimination of Agricultural Subsidies

What is Increased Market Access?


Reduction and elimination of tariffs
Removal of quantitative restrictions, e.g.
import quotas and replacement with tariffs

What is reduction of Domestic


Support?
Domestic support are subsidies given by
government to agricultural producers
either to:
- boost production
- influence prices
- ensure food security

What is Elimination of Export


Subsidies?
Export subsidies are price support
subsidies given to agricultural exporters to
be able to compete in the global market.
Only the rich developed countries practice
this.
Main beneficiary are the large agricultural
TNCs (e.g. Cargill, Monsanto, etc.)

Why Reduce and Eliminate


SUBSIDIES?
They are trade-distorting.
Artificially reducing world prices way below
actual costs of production.
Unfair competition for developing
countries because they dont have export
subsidies and have very little domestic
support for their farmers.

But the rich countries got


exemptions!
Through several boxes called amber box,
blue box, green box
While the South were forced to lower
tariffs, eliminate their import quotas, and
also reduce domestic support , the North
continued to give their TNC giants
domestic and export subsidies using the
various exemptions.

What is the result after ten years?


Domestic markets of the South were
flooded with cheap agricultural
imports/surpluses of the North
Food imports by developing countries
grew by 115 per cent between 1970 and
2001, transforming their combined food
trade surplus of $1bn in 1970 into a deficit
of more than $11bn.

What is the result after ten years?


Subsidies by the North continue to rise
despite the AoA objective of reducing and
eliminating subsidies.
Both the US and EU have retained and
even increased their annual farm
subsidies to the tune of USD 70-80 billion
each.

Developing countries cried foul!


Agriculture has become a very contentious
issue in the WTO.
Hence, the collapse of Seattle talks in
1998 and later again in Cancun in 2003.
Formation of G20, G33 developing country
groupings
Peasant resistance: Agriculture Out of the
WTO!

What is at stake in the Doha Round


agriculture negotiations?
On market access conversion of specific
and fixed duties to their ad valorem
equivalents (tariff rates based on value of
imports); elimination of tariff peaks and
tariff escalation; identification of sensitive
products; identification of Special Products
and Special Safeguard Mechanisms fo
devping countries.

What is at stake in the Doha Round


agriculture negotiations?
A deadline for the complete elimination of
export subsidies
(G20 wants 5-year deadline; still to be
negotiated)
A substantive reduction of the Norths
domestic support
- but the July Framework even expanded
the blue box to accommodate US
exemptions!

Agricultural Trade Lib:


Impact on Gender
50% or more of farm employment are
women working as unpaid family
workers or seasonal waged workers
Female work in agriculture not
recognized by official statistics
Women property rights on land not
recognized
Women have no access to credit

Agricultural Trade Lib:


Impact on Gender
Loss of farm livelihoods due to unfair
competition with cheap imported products and
lack of domestic support from government
Loss of food security at the national and
household levels
>Loss of household food security worsens
the womens reproductive burden.
Tendency for women to migrate to urban
areas or overseas in search of jobs.

Agricultural Trade Lib:


Impact on Gender
Export-intensive production may
generate high demands for female
labor but paid returns to labor is
minimal aside from exploitative work
conditions.
Export-intensive production is
detrimental to food security and
environmental sustainability.

What should be our advocacy?


Fight for small farmers livelihoods.
Fight for our food security.
Fight for women farmers access to
land, credit and other productive
means.

What should be our advocacy?


How?
Protect our domestic market from import
dumping and import surges. Down with the
Norths obscene subsidy regime!
Support development of the Souths local
agriculture. We need subsidies for our farmers!
Implement genuine land reform! Recognize
womens rights to land and access to credit and
other productive resources.

What should be our advocacy?


Multi-level advocacy work:
- National: pressuring our own
governments to reverse previous unilateral
trade lib policies.
- WTO: pressuring South governments to
fight it out with the North.
- Ultimately to derail the WTO talks and its
agenda of further trade liberalization!

What should be our advocacy?


In engaging both national and WTO trade
policies and processes,
Dont forget the most important thing:
GRASSROOTS organizing, political
education and EMPOWERMENT.
Many thinkers have interpreted the world in many
ways, the problem is to change it. And it is
mainly in the hands of the masses that real
change can come about!