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As part of its mandate to provide assistance to member countries in the context of the follow-up to the Uruguay Round and future negotiations on agriculture, FAO has been implementing a wide range of activities. The objective is to enhance the capacity of developing countries to analyse the implications for the agricultural sector of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements, to adjust to the new trading environment and thus take full advantage of trading opportunities, and to participate effectively in further multilateral trade negotiations. In connection with the new negotiations on agriculture, FAO is intensifying its assistance to member countries to enable them to be better informed and well prepared for these trade talks. Several activities have been initiated, including regional workshops, which cover issues directly related to the agreements on agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT) and trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS).

This Resource Manual on Multilateral Trade Negotiations on Agriculture has been prepared by FAO staff as background material for government officials and specialists from academic and private sector institutions participating in FAO's workshops. More generally, it should also be of interest to those who have responsibility for implementing the WTO agreements or who will be involved in the new negotiations.

The Manual, in addition to explaining the basic concepts of the WTO Agreements which most directly affect agriculture, provides other information relevant for better understanding and assessing the implications for national policies of the WTO Agreements as well as their possible impact on the agricultural economies. The information contained in the Manual draws on FAO's analytical and field experience in food and agriculture, fisheries and forestry. It also taps FAO's unique expertise in such areas as the assessment of the global food supply and demand situation; the analysis of the impact of the WTO Agreements on agricultural commodity markets, and on food security at the world, regional and national levels; the harmonization of international scientifically based and risk-assessed standards for food quality and safety through the Codex Alimentarius Commission (jointly with WHO); phytosanitary standards through the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC); and the conservation and utilization of genetic resources for food and agriculture through the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), the only UN intergovernmental forum dealing with this subject matter.

The Manual also takes into account ongoing work of relevance to trade and natural resources management, as well as environmental and ethical concerns, such as the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries, the International Code of Conduct for the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, the Codex Code of Ethics for International Trade in Food, and the Draft Code of Conduct on Biotechnology.

We welcome comments and feedback on this Resource Manual as part of a shared work-in-progress endeavour to support member countries in the current multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture.

Hartwig de Haen
Assistant Director-General
Economic and Social Departmentand Chairman,
Inter-Departmental Task Force on Uruguay Round Follow-up and Future Multilateral Trade Negotiations
Henri Carsalade
Assistant Director-General
Technical Cooperation Department


The following FAO Services and Divisions contributed to the preparation of the modules contained in this Resource Manual:

Agricultural Policy Support Service, Policy Assistance Division Technical Cooperation Department
Animal Health Service, Animal Production and Health Division Agriculture Department
Commodities Policy and Projections Service, Commodities and Trade Division Economic and Social Department
Development Law Service Legal Office
Fish Utilization and Marketing Service, Fishery Industries Division Fisheries Department
Food Quality and Standards Service, Food and Nutrition Division Economic and Social Department
Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing Branch, Forest Products Division Forestry Department
Plant Protection Service, Plant Production and Protection Division Agriculture Department


The publication of the Manual was co-ordinated by Maria Grazia Quieti, Agricultural Policy Support Officer, Policy Assistance Division, with general editorial assistance from Prof. Alan Matthews, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Evelyne Desfoux was responsible for the typing and layout of the material.

FAO would like to thank, for their comments and suggestions, the many government officials and consultants who have participated in FAO's workshops, where this Manual was first presented and discussed.

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