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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The combination of code and institutional arrangement seems to have worked quite well. The essentials of the code were written into the 1958 revision of US PL 480 and incorporated into the World Food Programme of 1963. They would reappear in the GATT in the Kennedy Round, where a multilateral food aid commitment became part of the 1967 International Grains Arrangement. Much later, the subject surfaced a third time in the GATT in the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, where it became part of the new rules for export subsidies.

The record of the CONTRACTING PARTIES' actions under the General Agreement with respect to intergovernmental commodity agree- · ments might well have reflected disenchantment with the record of practical experience with ICAs. They have been few in number, fragile, and the source of continuous dissension amongst their signatories. But the negative stance towards this particular trade instrument is also consistent with the philosophy of the Agreement, the rules of which are designed to allow international production and exchange to be determined by market mechanisms, by diminishing and removing the interferences that prevent the play of market forces from determining the volume and direction of exports and imports.

The US could no doubt have claimed exemption for existing legislation under the Protocol of Provisional Application, and for some products (though not for dairy products, wheat, and cotton) it might have been claimed that effective national supply controls were in place. But whatever the legalities of US practice, the fact was that the leading advocate of trade liberalism was setting a bad example. Worse was to follow. As Eric Wyndham White (the Executive Secretary to the GATT in its first 21 years) had noted, although Article XI was 'largely tailor made to United States requirements ...

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