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Agriculture Negotiations and the World Trade Organization

             The World Trade Organization (WTO) has made significant progress in the agriculture negotiations between its member governments. However, there are many hurdles left to overcome in the negotiations in order to have a truly harmonious commitment that all countries are likely to follow. There are of course many issues in which the WTO must tackle some of which are presented in this paper such as export subsidies and competition, market access issues and developing countries' issues. In this paper we will present the above-mentioned issues from the perspective of both developed and developing countries and give some insight into how the negotiations are likely to turn out in the near future. The deadline set out by the Doha Mandate sets January 1, 2005 as the target date. After reading this paper one will be able to see just how far the negotiations have come and be able to decide for ones self if indeed the WTO will meet the Doha Mandate's deadline. .
             The World Trade Organization had long been ineffective in combating very important aspects of agricultural trade. Issues such as export and domestic subsidies were dominating many areas of world agricultural trade and the stricter disciplines on import restrictions were often ignored. The Uruguay Round from 1986-1994 made great strides in reforming a lot of that and bringing substantial change to agriculture negotiations. The Uruguay Round put agriculture trade firmly within the multilateral trading system (Veneman). The WTO agriculture agreement along with the individual countries' commitments to reforming agricultural trade was the first step in the reformation process. This is the first time that member governments have truly committed to the reduction of export subsidies and trade-distorting domestic support. And that commitment is key in the success of these negotiations without it; of course, it would not be possible for the countries to set aside their differences in order to make progress in the negotiations.

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