Liberalizing Agricultural Trade: Will It Ever Be a Reality?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture was signed in June 1994. It accomplished two things: it brought agricultural trade under the rules of WTO, and it set schedules for reducing barriers to trade under the three pillars of liberalization--market access, export assistance, and domestic support. Nine years later there has been precious little liberalization. The new Doha Round has ambitious objectives for agricultural trade liberalization. However, given recent behavior by rich developed countries, it seems unlikely that developing countries will get increased access to Northern markets or reduced competition from subsidized exports, despite their now representing a majority of WTO members.