Although agriculture has always been covered by the GATT, before the WTO there were several important differences in the rules that applied to primary agricultural products compared to industrial products. The GATT 1947 allowed countries to use export subsidies for agricultural precursors, while export subsidies for industrial products were prohibited. The only conditions were that agricultural export subsidies should not be used to cover more than a fair share of world exports of the product concerned (Article XVI(3) of the GATT). GATT rules also allowed countries to use import restrictions (e.g. . B, import quotas) under certain conditions, in particular where such restrictions were necessary to enforce measures to effectively limit domestic production (Article XI(2)(c) of the GATT). This exception was also subject to the condition that a minimum proportion of imports in domestic production was as large as possible. View news on agricultural negotiations See news on cotton The Agreement on Agriculture (the Agreement) entered into force on 1 January 1995. The preamble to the agreement recognizes that the agreed long-term objective of the reform process launched by the Uruguay Round reform programme is to create a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system. The reform agenda includes specific commitments to reduce support and protection in the areas of domestic support, export subsidies and market access, as well as to establish stronger and more operationally effective GATT rules and disciplines. The agreement also takes into account non-trade concerns, including food security and the need to protect the environment, and provides for special and differential treatment for developing countries, including improved access and conditions for agricultural products that may be of particular interest to these countries. The Uruguay Round of agricultural negotiations were not easy, as the broad scope of the negotiations and their political sensitivity necessarily called into question a great deal of time to reach agreement on the new rules, and much technical work was required to create robust means of formalizing commitments in policy areas that go beyond the framework of previous GATT practice.
The Agreement on Agriculture and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures were negotiated in parallel, and a decision on measures relating to the possible negative impact of the reform programme on least developed and net food-importing developing countries was also part of the overall results. In July 2008, the Task Force developed its first framework for action, outlining its strategy and guiding principles and pursuing a comprehensive approach to food security that includes food availability, access, stability and use. People are considered “food safe” if they have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Work on food safety at the WTO takes place in the Committee on Agriculture. The WTO also contributes its expertise to an Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), as recommended by the United Nations High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, of which the WTO is a member. .