The WTO Agreement on Agriculture subjected agriculture to a set of international rules for the first time in the history of international trade. Ever since its negotiation the Agreement has been at the forefront of the controversy surrounding the purpose and impact of the WTO itself. This commentary provides a full legal analysis of the obligations imposed by the agreement on WTO members, and of the complex history of the Agreement's negotiation and revision and the controversy surrounding its effect on international development. The commentary is structured around the three areas of reform initiated by the Agreement - market access, domestic support and export competition. The book provides an in-depth examination of the substantive provisions and the disputes that have arisen in each of these three areas. In addition the book situates these provisions against their background in pre-WTO regulation. It analyses the operation of the 'Peace clause' and assesses the impact of the clause's expiration.
The commentary concludes by assessing the Agreement's accommodation of and impact on developing economies, and examining the process of reforming domestic farm subsidies, one of the dominant issues currently confronting the WTO.
Professor Joseph McMahon holds the Chair in Commercial Law in the School of Law at University College Dublin.