The General Council of the World
Trade Organization (WTO), meeting in Geneva, has agreed on a framework for the
final phase of the Doha Development Agenda of global trade negotiations. The decision in
Geneva sets the WTO on course to achieve
historic reform of global agricultural
In a key
accomplishment for U.S. farmers and ranchers, the framework
calls for an ambitious and balanced result through reform of trade-distorting
agricultural subsidies, elimination of agricultural export subsidies,
and a substantial improvement in market access for all farm
cutting farm tariffs, all countries other than the least-developed will make a
contribution, and there will be deeper cuts in higher tariffs.
will be cut using a tiered (“banded”) formula that will lead to greater
harmonization in tariff levels across countries. In addition, a tariff cap
will be evaluated as part of the negotiations.
Substantial improvement in market
access will apply to all agricultural products, even “sensitive” products. Countries may designate a specific
number of sensitive products that will be handled through a combination of
tariff quota expansion and tariff reductions to expand market access.
Developing countries, while part of the reform process,
will be subject to lesser tariff reduction commitments in each band of the
tiered approach. The vulnerability
of poor subsistence farmers is recognized in the text for further
historic achievement that has been a goal of the
U.S. and others for decades, the
framework calls for the elimination of agricultural export
subsidies. These are the most
trade-distorting type of agricultural subsidies.
framework also disciplines export credits and export guarantee programs,
eliminating over time their trade-distorting elements.
key U.S. objective reflected in the
framework is the elimination of trade-distorting practices in the sales of
State Trading Enterprises (STEs).
The framework calls, for the first time, for specific disciplines and
greater transparency on STEs, and offers the possibility to negotiate the
elimination of the monopoly powers of such entities.
countries with higher allowed levels of domestic support will be subject to
deeper cuts. This harmonization
of domestic support levels has long been a key
Trade-distorting forms of
domestic support for agriculture will be cut substantially, with caps on
support levels for specific commodities and cuts in the overall level of
first year of implementation, each Member’s total trade-distorting support will
be cut by 20% from currently allowed levels, an amount equal to the cut of these
subsidies during the entire Uruguay Round.
framework text also maintains the viability of food aid programs for
humanitarian and development needs.
Cotton: countries have agreed that cotton is a
vital issue that will be addressed within the agriculture negotiations. As the G-8 Leaders recently affirmed,
cotton is a matter of primary concern to African countries. Work on cotton will include all
trade-distorting policies in the sector, including market access, domestic
support, and export competition.
For U.S. Farmers and Ranchers
· Major cuts in foreign tariffs on U.S. farm exports.
· Expanded market access for all U.S. farm products through tariff cuts and quota expansion.
· Elimination of agricultural export subsidies, most of which are used by overseas competitors.
· New disciplines on state trading enterprises such as the Canadian Wheat Board.
· Harmonization of trade-distorting farm support programs, with Europe and Japan subject to deeper cuts because of their higher levels of support.
· The Doha framework would cut allowed domestic support for agriculture more in the first year than during the entire Uruguay Round.
Quote of Support
“We applaud the hard work of our U.S. trade team to provide a framework for future negotiations… [the framework] will lead to expanded market access for U.S. farmers and ranchers.”
--American Farm Bureau Federation