Agriculture in the GATT by Timothy E. Josling, Stefan Tangermann, T. K. Warley (auth.)

By Timothy E. Josling, Stefan Tangermann, T. K. Warley (auth.)

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Commodity Agreements Revisited In the 1950s, if those who wanted world trade in 'primary products' to be desubsidized and liberalized were to be disappointed, so too were those countries who wanted it to be organized and managed. As the agricultural exporters' problems of instability and inadequacy of prices and earnings mounted in the early 1950s, they continued to press the case for a larger role for ICAs. The subject was reopened at the Review Session when, on an initiative by some developing countries and smaller exporters of temperate zone agricultural products, a Working Party was established to examine proposals for inserting into the Agreement provisions along the lines of Chapter VI of the Havana Charter.

Third, the Committee was asked to examine the adequacy of GATT rules for agricultural trade in light of the ubiquity of the national agricultural policies, which pro- Early Encounters: 1948-60 39 vided national producers with a high degree of protection and which had far-reaching effects on international trade in farm and food products. Finally, the work of the Committee was expected to lead to recommendations on steps that could be taken to improve the situation. Committee II held a series of meetings over the next few years.

All this meant that agricultural trade would occupy much of the Session's agenda. The US Waiver As noted earlier, the intellectual architects of postwar trade policy had wished to have a flat prohibition on the use of quantitative import restrictions, which were regarded as the antithesis of a liberal trade order since, by their nature, they provided absolute protection and entailed bilateralism, discrimination, and the direct regulation of private activity. However, a GATT report in 1950 had shown that the use of quantitative restrictions on agricultural imports was widespread (GATT, 1950).

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