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World Trade Organization: Negotiations on agriculture

The current round of trade negotiations within the World Trade Organization was launched in November 2001 at the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar.  The round is known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), with a mandate to put the trade needs of developing countries at the heart of the negotiations.

Talks have been ongoing since 2001, with key agreements being reached in the Framework Agreement of 1 August 2004 (also known as the ‘July package’) and the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration in December 2005.

The chairs of the Agriculture and Non Agricultural Market Access negotiationg groups have published updated texts outlining the agreements - these are known as draft modalities. The latest texts are available on the WTO website.

The UK is fully committed to achieving an ambitious, pro-development outcome in the current negotiations - to delivering on development pledges at the heart of the DDA round. We believe that significant benefits will result from an ambitious package within agriculture and other sectors. 

In agriculture, the Government is looking to the DDA to deliver (amongst other benefits):

  • reductions in trade-distorting domestic support (including subsidies and other programmes that fix prices artificially in the European Union and elsewhere)
  • improvements in market access (reductions in agricultural import tariffs in the EU and in developed countries – with special and differential treatment for developing countries)
  • the end of export subsidies (that make EU agricultural exports in particular artificially competitive)

Globally, a deal will be of tremendous benefit to farmers in the developing world, removing some of the most inequitable barriers to trade, whilst allowing developing countries to open up their markets at a slower pace. But a DDA deal, alongside further reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, will also result in a more sustainable, competitive and efficient agricultural sector in the EU (see joint Treasury/Defra paper, December 2005 below)

In the World Trade Organization, the European Commission represents the UK and other member states, as part of the Community’s Common Commercial Policy. 

Links to further information

Page last modifed: 12 September 2008