Globalization and Agricultural Trade Policy

Globalization and Agricultural Trade Policy

Globalization and Agricultural Trade Policy

Globalization and Agricultural Trade Policy

Synopsis

A discussion of globalization and agricultural trade policy. The contributors explore: rapidly evolving environmental policies; state trading enterprises and their impact on international prices and competitiveness; regional trade agreements; and the influence of the WTO on policy.

Excerpt

The 1990s were a pivotal decade for agricultural economies, particularly agricultural trade. The Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations culminated in new trade agreements, including the Agreement on Agriculture. In North America, the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement was broadened to include Mexico under the North America Free Trade Agreement. The World Trade Organization (WTO) supplanted GATT as the institution overseeing the resolution of international trade disputes and providing the organizational framework for new trade negotiations. The effects of the creation of the new institution and the continuing impact of regional trade blocs on agricultural trade received much attention among the affected policy communities. Several important issues began to emerge that would provide much of the impetus for future discussion and negotiation.

In the transition months from the twentieth to the twenty-first centuries, an abortive attempt at a new round of WTO negotiations was made at the WTO ministerial meetings in Seattle. Agriculture, again, was at the top of the negotiating agenda. Despite the failure to launch a new comprehensive round, negotiations on the Agreement on Agriculture began in 2000. Many of the bitterly contested issues from the Uruguay Round remain. In addition, new and potentially even more contentious questions have come to the fore: the impact of agriculture on the environment, biotechnology, state-trading enterprises, regional trade agreements, consumer concerns over food quality, rural policy, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations.

The Agreement on Agriculture reversed a trend to increase protection and laid the foundation for further liberalization. However, subsidization and protection of agriculture remain contentious issues. Tensions that exist-

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