Committee on Agriculture - Summary report of the meeting held on 13 November 2014 - Note by the Secretariat
作者:WTO Secretariat

SUMMARY report OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13 november 2014

Note by the Secretariat[1]

The Committee on Agriculture held its seventy-fifth (75th) regular meeting on 13 November 2014 under the Chairmanship of Mrs Miriam Chaves from Argentina.


The agenda of the meeting as set out in WTO/AIR/4385 was adopted with the following modifications:


·                Part 1 (Review Process):

·        Addition of questions from Brazil with respect to India's notification on domestic support; and

·        Addition of questions from the Russian Federation with respect to the United States of America's domestic support commitments.

1  THE Review process

1.1  Matters relevant to the implementation of commitments under the Reform Programme: article 18.6

1.1.  The 17 implementation-related issues raised as well as the responses provided and follow‑up exchanges are compiled in section 1 of document G/AG/W/138. These relate to:

a.      Brazil's tax credit programmes (raised by the European Union);

b.     Brazil's domestic support programmes (raised by the United States of America);

c.      Canada's dairy policies (raised by New Zealand and the United States of America);

d.     Canada's proposed changes to tariff schedule (raised by the United States of America);

e.     Canada's tariff-rate quota for cheese (raised by the United States of America);

f.       Costa Rica's compliance with AMS commitments (raised by Canada and the United States of America);

g.     Egypt's domestic support and export subsidies (raised by the European Union);

h.     India's sugar subsidies (raised by Australia);

i.        Jordan's inflation adjustments on the fixed external reference price (raised by Canada);

j.       Russian Federation's agricultural support for 2015 (raised by the European Union);

k.      Saint Lucia's domestic purchase requirements for poultry and pork (raised by the United States of America);

l.        Thailand's paddy pledging scheme (raised by the United States of America);

m.   Thailand's rice farmer assistance programme (raised by Canada);

n.     Turkey's destination of wheat flour sale (raised by the United States of America);

o.     Turkey's agricultural credit and investment subsidies (raised by Canada);

p.     Turkey's domestic support and export subsidies (raised by the European Union);

q.     Turkey's export subsidy programmes (raised by Australia).

1.2  Review of Notifications

1.2.  The Chairperson informed Members that since the June 2014 meeting the Committee had received 76 notifications which had been distributed electronically to all delegations.

1.2.1  Notifications in respect of which questions have been raised in advance of the issuance of the convening airgram

1.3.  Section 2 of document G/AG/W/138 reflects the questions raised, responses provided, and Members' follow-up comments in connection with the 35 notifications on which questions had been raised in advance of the issuance of the convening airgram[2].

1.2.2  Notifications subject to review in respect of which no questions have been raised in advance of the issuance of the convening airgram

1.4.  The Committee took note of the 42 notifications circulated before 3 November 2014, including notifications carried over from the June 2014 meeting but in respect of which no questions had been raised by that date under the Committee's working procedures.[3]

1.2.3  Notifications circulated or made available after the issuance of the convening airgram

1.5.  Five notifications had been circulated after the issuance of the convening airgram on 3 November 2014:

Annual summary of Special Safeguard actions taken (Table MA:5):

·                Canada (2012): G/AG/N/CAN/102

Domestic Support Commitments (Table DS:1):

·                Norway (2013): G/AG/N/NOR/78

Export Subsidy Commitments (Table ES:1-ES:3):

·                United States of America (2011-2012): G/AG/N/USA/99

·                Mexico (2009-2012): G/AG/N/MEX/27/Corr.1

Notification under Article 16.2 of the Agreement: Monitoring of the follow-up to the Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and net Food-Importing Developing countries (Table NF:1):

·                Japan (2011): G/AG/N/JPN/199/Corr.1

1.6.  These notifications would be reverted to for substantive review during the next regular meeting, in accordance with paragraph 9 of the working procedures.

1.2.4  Points concerning notifications raised at previous meetings

1.7.  There were no requests for the floor under this agenda item.

1.2.5  Counter-notifications (Article 18.7 of the Agreement on Agriculture)

1.8.  There were no requests for the floor under this agenda item.

1.2.6  Deferred replies to questions raised under the review process

1.9.  The Chairperson noted that a total of 15 delegations had outstanding replies in the context of the review of notifications. The Chairperson strongly advised them to submit the replies to the Secretariat in order to enhance the efficiency of the review process. There were no requests for the floor.

1.2.7  Overdue notifications

1.10.  The Committee took note of document G/AG/GEN/86/Rev.19 dated 3 November 2014 reflecting the current status of Members' compliance with notification obligations.

1.11.  The Chairperson highlighted a few numbers with respect to the outstanding notifications. For the period 1995 to 2012:

·                9% (58) of notifications in the MA:2 series;

·                10% (58) of notifications in the MA:5 series;

·                36% (669) of notifications in the DS:1 series;

·                35% (728) of notifications in the ES:1 series; and

·                10% (49) of notifications in the ES:2 series remain outstanding.

1.12.  A question was raised under this agenda item by the United States of America to China. The question and corresponding answer can be found on page 74 of document G/AG/W/138.

2  Other Matters within the Purview of the Committee

2.1  Annual monitoring exercise on the follow-up to the Marrakesh net food‑importing developing countries (NFIDC) decision under Article 16.2

2.1.  The annual monitoring exercise was undertaken on the basis, inter alia, of contributions by Members, including Table NF:1 notifications, as well as contributions by observer international organizations.

2.2.  The Committee took note of the background note[4] revised annually by the Secretariat.

2.3.  Egypt, on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the report and expressed appreciation for the notifications submitted on this topic. The African Group noted that the Agreement on Agriculture had had mixed impacts on NFIDCs since food aid deliveries had followed a declining trend over the last ten years. The African Group recalled the communication submitted by the NFIDCs, African and Arab groups[5] which called for an adoption of a comprehensive work programme to mitigate the impact of the food market prices and the volatility on LDCs and NFIDCs. To improve implementation of the NFIDC decision and to achieve its intended objectives, the debate needed to move beyond Members' notifications. Specifically, the African Group considered that

·          There should be an automatic trigger to release support at times of high world prices/low domestic production, rather than a need to prove negative impact on the part of the NFIDCs and LDCs;

·          Support should not increase the indebtedness of countries seeking assistance;

·          Price signals to domestic producers in the NFIDCs and LDCs should be maintained;

·          The support mechanisms should increase agricultural productivity and competitiveness in the longer term if NFIDCs are not to benefit from any increase market access resulting from liberalization; and

·          The importance of agricultural livelihood in NFIDCs, especially those of small scale and women farmers, needed to be considered.


The African Group called on Members to start a review of the Ministerial Decision to strengthen the language to make it more mandatory, to increase the level of technical and financial assistance promised under the Decision and to establish a mechanism to fully implement the provisions of the Decision.


2.4.  The Dominican Republic welcomed the African group's statement and supported the call for the Committee to start work on possible ways to improve the implementation of the Decision.

2.5.  Argentina was of the view that there was no justification for the food aid not to be provided in fully grant form, and recalled that the food assistance convention allowed the provision of non‑concessional food aid at the 20% level.

2.6.  The Russian Federation welcomed Members' work in relation to food security. The Russian Federation stated that the volume of food aid to be provided by the Russian Federation, in accordance with its commitments under the food assistance convention, would amount to US$15 million in 2014. The Russian Federation highlighted the importance of advancing rules on the provision of food aid as well as on other elements of export competition. Finally, the Russian Federation noted the importance of the food assistance provided at the international level to the populations in need, particularly to regions experiencing difficult humanitarian situations or regional military conflicts.

2.1.1  Contributions by Members

2.7.  The Committee took note of the circulation of the following notifications in the Table NF:1 series since the 2013 monitoring exercise[6]: Australia (G/AG/N/AUS/93); Canada (G/AG/N/CAN/100); Cuba (G/AG/N/CUB/46 and G/AG/N/CUB/48); European Union (G/AG/N/EU/21); Japan (G/AG/N/JPN/199 and Corrigendum); New Zealand (G/AG/N/NZL/82); Norway (G/AG/N/NOR/70); South Africa (G/AG/N/ZAF/82); Switzerland (G/AG/N/CHE/64); and United States of America (G/AG/N/USA/97 and Corrigendum; and G/AG/N/USA/98).

2.1.2  Contributions by observer international organizations

2.8.  The Committee took note of the contributions made by the observer international organizations: The International Grain Council submitted a document describing the key components of the Food Assistance Convention, which entered into force on 1 January 2013, and its activities.[7] The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) highlighted the trends in food import bills of LDCs and NFIDCs, developments in food price volatility and on market trends in basic foodstuffs, as well as on the operation of the Agriculture Market Information System.[8] The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) reported on its technical cooperation provided during 2014 to support countries in Latin America and the Caribbean on food security and nutrition.[9] The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented the OECD's latest work concerning the contribution of trade to food security, with a focus on the issues faced by NFIDCs, and described the forecasts for agricultural production, trade and prices, and their implications to food security.[10]

2.9.  Argentina noted that prices had only recently recovered in real terms and that the prevailing low prices of previous decades had been caused by protectionist policies that continued to exist without reform. Argentina noted that increased production had benefitted resource poor producers. According to Argentina the recent decline in international prices of agricultural products, threatened investments in the agricultural sector and could lead to increased subsidies on these products. Argentina stated that the elimination of all forms of export subsidies was an urgent priority as increased subsidies would lead to increased protectionism.

2.2  Implementation-related issues

2.10.  The Chairperson noted that the situation had not changed since the circulation of the 2003 and 2006 reports to the General Council.[11]

2.11.  Argentina stated that without prejudice to the provisions of Article 10.1 of the Agreement on Agriculture, the establishment of additional and specific disciplines on export credits, export credit guarantees and insurance programmes remained an outstanding implementation issue resulting from the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture. Argentina requested that this item be retained on the agenda of the Committee on Agriculture.

2.3  Annual Consultation under Article 18.5 with respect to Members' Participation in the Normal Growth of World Trade in Agricultural Products within the Framework of the Commitments on Export Subsidies

2.12.  The Chairperson recalled that one of the main bases for the present consultations within the framework of the commitments on export subsidies was the full picture of notifications in the export subsidy area. These notifications covered not only subsidized exports and related budgetary outlays but also total food aid and total export volumes (i.e. Tables ES:1, ES:2 and ES:3). Members' compliance with notification obligations in the export subsidy area was crucial to enable the Committee to undertake such consultations. Members were referred to G/AG/GEN/86/Rev.19 which reflected the state-of-play of submissions in the export subsidy area. The document showed that for the implementation period 1995-2012, 728 Table ES:1 notifications and 49 Table ES:2 notifications remained outstanding.

2.13.  The Chairperson noted that for this year's consultations the Secretariat could not prepare the customary background note in the G/AG/W/32 series containing export statistics in respect of select agricultural products. This was due to the delay in the processing and dissemination of updated trade statistics by the FAO which had been the primary data source for the background note. The FAO statistics unit had informed the WTO Secretariat that the public dissemination of the updated trade statistics for 2012 (and possibly 2013) was expected in 2015. The next revision to the G/AG/W/32 document should be able to incorporate the updated trade data.

2.14.  Paraguay regretted that a revised G/AG/W/32 document could not be produced as it provided an excellent overview of world trade on agricultural products, and stated that it would wait for the updated document to complete the consultation exercise.

2.4  Implementation of Bali outcomes

2.15.  The Chairperson recalled that the CoA had clear implementation responsibilities in the areas of TRQ administration and export competition. The Chairperson noted the steps to be taken on these two areas for the CoA to fulfil its normal transparency and monitoring functions.

2.16.  Regarding TRQ administration, the Chairperson recalled the discussions carried out at the June meeting about options for facilitating the notification of TRQ fill rates as called for by the Bali Decision on TRQ administration.[12] Based on suggestions from Members, the Secretariat had circulated an example of a notification which included an additional column for fill rate information. In the July informal meeting, Members expressed a willingness to use a common presentation based on the format circulated so as to be able to provide information on TRQ fill rates. Some Members had already started to report fill rates using the proposed format. In order to encourage a consistent approach in Members' Table MA:2 notifications, the Chairperson suggested that in future notifications Members use an additional column to provide the relevant TRQ fill rate data.[13]

2.17.  On export competition, the Chairperson noted the conclusion of the 2014 dedicated discussion on export competition with the circulation of the revised Secretariat document on 16 September and subsequent addendum on 13 October 2014.[14] The Chairperson stated that these dedicated discussions should occur on an annual basis as called for by the Bali Declaration on export competition, and the next one should therefore take place during the 2015 June meeting of the CoA.[15] The Chairperson intended to request the Secretariat to circulate by the end of 2014 the questionnaire for the 2015 dedicated discussion exercise, along with a summary of suggestions received from several Members on how to increase the number and improve the overall quality of replies to this questionnaire.[16]

2.5  Annual Report to the Council for Trade in Goods

2.18.  The Committee took note of the draft annual report to the Council for Trade in Goods (CTG). Members were invited to submit comments by 14 November 2014. The draft report would be updated to reflect Members' submissions and discussions from the November meeting of the CoA. The report was scheduled to be considered by the CTG at its meeting on 17 November 2014.[17]

2.6  Renewal of ad hoc Observer Status to the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA)

2.19.  The Committee agreed to invite IICA to participate in its regular meetings in 2015 regular sessions as an ad hoc observer.

2.7  Other Business

2.7.1  Secretariat briefing on Technical Assistance

2.20.  The Secretariat informed the Committee that the planned notification workshop scheduled to take place on the first week of December 2014, in Spanish, had been cancelled due to the low number of applications. The Secretariat was considering the options for the delivery of notification workshops in 2015.

2.7.2  Date of next regular meeting and reminder of upcoming agenda

2.21.  The Chair proposed that the next (76th) regular meeting of the Committee on Agriculture would be held on 4-5 March 2015. The airgram convening this meeting would be issued on 20 February 2015.

2.22.  The Committee also took note of the proposed Committee meetings for 2015: 4 June, 24 September and 19 November.


[1] This document has been prepared under the Secretariat's own responsibility and is without prejudice to the positions of Members or to their rights and obligations under the WTO.

[2] WTO/AIR/4385, Attachment Section B.

[3] WTO/AIR/4385, Attachment Section C.

[4] G/AG/W/42/Rev.17 dated 30 October 2014.

[5] G/AG/W/90 circulated on 14 November 2011.

[6] A reminder (WTO/AIR/4379) was also circulated on 20 October 2014.

[7] G/AG/GEN/124 circulated on 11 November 2014.

[8] G/AG/GEN/122 circulated on 3 November 2014.

[9] G/AG/GEN/121 circulated on 3 November 2014.

[10] G/AG/GEN/123 circulated on 11 November 2014.

[11] G/AG/16/Add.1 and G/AG/22.

[12] WT/MIN(13)/39 and WT/L/914.

[13] The recommended format has been distributed, in the three official languages, under G/AG/W/137 on 26 November 2014.

[14] G/AG/W/125/Rev.1 and G/AG/W/125/Rev.1/Add.1.

[15] WT/MIN(13)/40 and WT/L/915.

[16] The questionnaire and summary of suggestions were circulated by fax on 26 November 2014.

[17] G/L/1093.