Although agriculture has always been under GATT, there have been some significant differences in the rules for primary agricultural products as opposed to industrial products before the WTO. The 1947 GATT allowed countries to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products, while export subsidies for industrial products were prohibited. The only conditions were that agricultural export subsidies should not be used to cover more than a fair share of world merchandise exports (Article XVI:3 of GATT). The GATT rules also allowed countries to resort, under certain conditions, to import restrictions (for example. B import quota), particularly where these restrictions were necessary to impose effective measures to limit domestic production (Article XI, paragraph 2, sub c) of the GATT). This derogation was also conditional on the fact that a minimum share of imports relative to domestic production was maintained. In principle, agriculture is subject to all WTO agreements and agreements on trade in goods, including the 1994 GATT agreements and WTO agreements on issues such as tariff assessment, import authorisation procedures, due diligence, emergency measures, subsidies and technical barriers to trade. However, in the event of a conflict between these agreements and the agricultural agreement, the provisions of the agreement on agriculture apply. WTO agreements on trade in services and trade aspects of intellectual property rights also apply to agriculture. the obligation to meet specific binding commitments in each of the following areas: market access; Domestic assistance Export competition and reach agreement on health and plant health issues; The 1947 GATT initially applied to agriculture, but was incomplete, and the signatory states (or “contracting parties”) excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the general agreement.
During the period 1947-1994, members were allowed to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials faced trade barriers in unusual proportions in other sectors. The road to a fair, market-oriented agricultural trade system has therefore been difficult and time-consuming; and the negotiations were finally concluded during the Uruguay Round. Agriculture has a special status in WTO agreements and trade agreements (signed in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995), with the sector having a specific agreement, the agriculture agreement, whose provisions prevail. In addition, some provisions of the agreement on the application of plant protection measures (SPS) also concern agricultural production and trade. The same applies to the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) with respect to the protection of geographical denominations. In addition, the provisions of the agreement on agriculture are complemented by the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (OTC) and by technical assistance mechanisms. The Haberler report of 1958 stressed the importance of minimizing the impact of agricultural subsidies on competitiveness and recommended replacing price support with additional non-production-related direct payments, and expected discussions to be ongoing on green box subsidies.