FAO focuses on helping member countries make the most of the Uruguay Round

Unloading maize from Zimbabwe in Mozambique 
Global trade liberalization promises trade expansion and economic growth for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, but not all countries are equally placed to benefit from the new regime. Developing countries in particular may face difficulties before they are able to fully reap the benefits of freer global trade.

A new booklet, "FAO technical assistance and the Uruguay Round Agreements", discusses the significance of the Uruguay Round Agreements for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, reviews related technical assistance provided by FAO in the past, and outlines specific areas in which the Organization can use its considerable expertise to continue helping member countries take advantage of current and potential export opportunities and minimize possible negative repercussions.

In the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, signed at Marrakesh in April 1994, a large majority of countries agreed, for the first time ever, on a set of rules to harmonize national and international agricultural policies. They also agreed on adjustments to trade rules and practices, through various trade agreements and decisions. The agreements and decisions relevant to FAO's expertise and experience discussed in the new publication are:

  • Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) 
  • Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) 
  • Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) 
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) 
  • Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries 
These aim to benefit countries by providing greater access to world markets and curbing past practices that distorted both production and trade. But in the short term some countries and regions may be adversely affected by loss of markets and possible increases in prices of some products they import. Most developing countries, and particularly the least-developed, have neither the capacity nor the resources to face the challenges or capture export opportunities flowing from the Uruguay Round. Many will require technical assistance. The brochure highlights FAO's unique position in international agricultural affairs, and its willingness to provide assistance to those most in need.

Currently available in English, and soon to be published in Arabic, French and Spanish, the booklet "FAO technical assistance and the Uruguay Round Agreements" can be ordered from the FAO Sales and Marketing Group, Information Division.

6 March 1998

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