Trade and markets
 > Economic > Trade and Markets > Trade > Trade agreements
 

Trade agreements and negotiations

Since the Uruguay Round in 1995, the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) has been the main stimulus for international trade – and especially for international trade in agricultural products. It includes specific commitments by WTO members to improve market access, reduce trade distorting domestic support, and reduce export subsidies in agriculture. Agricultural negotiations have continued as part of the Doha Round, launched in 2001, but which have not yet produced an agreement. 

Trade in most agricultural commodities is projected to expand over the next decade, though at a lower rate than before. Trade policy will continue to play a major role, because trade instruments are often used in times of crises to guarantee food supplies. Concluding the so-called “mega-regional” agreements could further increase the volume of trade.

What FAO does
In this complex environment of trade agreements, rules and negotiations, we support member countries by:

• Generating information on the possible consequences of trade policies and levels of regional integration on food security and development
• Strengthening capacities of national stakeholders in order to improve understanding of international rules and their implications; and prepare stakeholders for negotiations and implementation
• Facilitating neutral fora for dialogue between different stakeholders from trade and agriculture, often in collaboration with the WTO and other key institutions

Examples of country and regional work
In Europe and the Central Asia region, Trade and Markets division has developed and delivered an e-learning course on WTO accession and implications for agriculture, with approximately 180 participants from government, academia and the private sector benefiting from the course.

In Africa, FAO is working with the regional office and the East African Grains Council (EAGC) to conduct studies and facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue events on: the level of market integration in food staples in the region; on the status of negotiations between the three regional economic communities (RECs); and on the obstacles to this process and ways forward.