Title: Bringing Agriculture Into the GATT: The Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, An Evaluation
Published in: Commissioned Papers
Author/s: Josling, Tim; Honma, Masayoshi; Lee, Jaeok; MacLaren, Donald; Miner, Bill; Sumner, Dan; Tangermann, Stefan; Valdes, Alberto
Contact for this paper: Laura Bipes/University of Minnesota/Department of Applied Economics/ 1994 Buford Avenue./ St. Paul, MN 55108 USA. From the start, agriculture played a central role in the Uruguay Round of GATT trade negotiations. The Punta del Este Declaration called for a solution to the problems facing agricultural trade through modified trade rules and an agreement to lower protection levels. It was recognized that such an improvement implied negotiations on the national farm policies as well as just trade policies. The time that it took to reach agreement reflected the political sensitivity and technical complexity of this task. The Agreement embodied in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round breaks new ground for agriculture, and takes a big step towards placing this sector of world trade under rules more consistent with those in operation in other areas. However, the degree of liberalization of markets is modest, and much remains to be done in future rounds of negotiations. The most far-reaching element in the Agreement is a change in the rules regarding market access. With very few exceptions, all participating countries have agreed to convert all existing non-tariff barriers (along with unbound tariffs) into bound duties and not to introduce new non-tariff measures. Negotiations agreed to reduce these new bound tariffs, as well as tariffs already bound earlier, according to Schedules included as a part of the Agreement.