WTO members have taken steps to reform the agricultural sector and address high subsidies and trade barriers that distort agricultural trade. The overall goal is to establish a fairer trading system that improves market access and improves the livelihoods of farmers around the world. The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, which came into force in 1995, is an important step towards reforming agricultural trade and towards fairer and more competitive development. The Committee on Agriculture is monitoring the implementation of the agreement. Noting that commitments made under the reform programme should be made fairly by all MEPs, taking into account non-trade issues, including food security and the need to protect the environment; Recalling the agreement that the special and differentiated treatment of developing countries is an integral part of the negotiations and given the negative effects that the implementation of the reform programme could have on the least developed developing countries and net food-importing developing countries, these agreements provide some flexibility in implementation by developing countries as well as for WTO members (special and differentiated treatment) and least developed countries (LDCs) and net food-importing developing countries (special provisions). The member transparency toolkit contains information on notification formats and a reporting manual, as well as links to members` lists with commitments and other resources to support member transparency in the agricultural sector. Before the Uruguay Round negotiations, it became increasingly clear that the causes of confusion in global agriculture went beyond the import access problems, which had been the traditional centre of gravity of the GATT negotiations. To reach the root causes of the problems, disciplines were considered essential for all agricultural trade measures, including national agricultural policy and agricultural export subsidies. In addition, clearer rules on health and plant health measures were deemed necessary, both in their own legislation and in avoiding the circumvention of stricter rules on access to imports through unjustified and protectionist application of food security, as well as animal and plant health measures. WTO members made important decisions on agriculture at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015. These include the obligation to remove agricultural export subsidies, decisions on public storage for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries and trade rules for cotton. The CAP is also affected by land concessions granted to several multilateral and bilateral agreements under several multilateral and bilateral agreements, as well as unilateral exemptions granted under the Generalized Preference System (GSP). These preferential agreements explain the high level of EU agricultural imports from developing countries (3.2.10, Table VI).

The 1947 GATT initially applied to agriculture, but was incomplete, and the signatory states (or “contracting parties”) excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the general agreement. During the period 1947-1994, members were allowed to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials faced trade barriers in unusual proportions in other sectors. The road to a fair, market-oriented agricultural trade system has therefore been difficult and time-consuming; and the negotiations were finally concluded during the Uruguay Round. Agriculture has a special status in WTO agreements and trade agreements (signed in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995), with the sector having a specific agreement, the agriculture agreement, of which