The Uruguay Round was the eighth world trade round carried out under the GATT . It began in 1986 and ended in 1994 with the Marrakech Final Act on the results of the multilateral trade negotiations (the so-called Marrakech Agreements ). In this round of negotiations, the industrialized countries shifted their focus for the first time from the liberalization of trade in goods to so-called “trade in services” and the protection of intellectual property. The developing countries, on the other hand, which make up the majority of the participating countries, demanded better market access for their products, especially textiles and agricultural products, in the industrialized countries. In addition, the call for a reduction in competition-distorting agricultural subsidies in the industrialized countries, especially the USA and the EU, was discussed for the first time.
Another topic of the Uruguay Round was institutional reforms, which resulted in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The demands of the industrialized countries were essentially met by the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) and TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Protection of Intellectual Property). In addition, further tariff cuts, a gradual opening of the agricultural markets and a reduction in agricultural subsidies were agreed. In the agricultural sector in particular, however, the industrialized countries did not implement their commitments, which is why this point was repeatedly controversial in subsequent WTO negotiations. The minimum social standards demanded by some industrialized countries have been rejected by developing countries as hidden protectionism .
As with all trade rounds, the definition of the negotiating mandate was disputed beforehand and occupied the contracting parties of the GATT for several years. The points of contention were in particular the new subject areas of services and intellectual property; As a compromise, the service negotiations were strictly separated from the negotiations in other subject areas. However, since the results of the Uruguay Round ( Marrakech Agreement ) could only be accepted by individual states as an overall package, the industrialized countries ultimately prevailed with their demand for a permanent link between the rules for trade in goods and services.
The actual negotiations began in 1986 with a ministerial conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay. They were originally supposed to be completed within four years. In 1988 a conference took place in Montreal, which was supposed to record the first interim results, but at which massive differences in the positions of the participating states were still visible. The ministerial conference in Brussels in 1990, which was supposed to conclude the round, failed due to continued differences. It was only after three more years that an agreement was reached on all important points at the end of 1993, so that the Marrakech Agreement was signed in 1994 and the WTO was founded on January 1, 1995.
Agreement on Agriculture - AoA
During the Uruguay Round the so-called Agricultural Agreement was agreed (1994 in Marrakech ). It sets the rules for agricultural trade for all WTO members. Implementation is to take place in ten years (1995–2005) for developing countries and in five years (1995–2000) for industrialized countries. Some of the rules of this agreement are summarized in so-called "boxes":
Yellow Box ( Amber Box )
Payments to producers and other domestic subsidies to be reduced but not eliminated under the provisions of the Uruguay Round Agriculture Agreement. The expenses in the yellow box are subject to reductions based on the aggregate measurement of support (AMS). The AMS is an imputed variable that includes state support for agricultural producers. The only exceptions are those expenses that are exempted in the other articles of the agreement. All government agricultural spending should be in the yellow box unless it meets the criteria in the other boxes (blue or green box). In the case of the EU, B. the market price support in the yellow box.
With the Blair House Agreement between the EU and the USA in 1992 the “breakthrough” in the agricultural negotiations in the Uruguay Round was achieved, the so-called Blue Box was created. Article 6.5. of the AoA states that the Blue Box allows the countries unlimited expenditure on direct payments to farmers, if these payments are linked to "production-restricting programs". The payments are based on defined areas and fields or are calculated per cattle. In the EU, these are the area and animal premiums and the set-aside premiums.
This box is referred to as Appendix 2 of the AoA in the agricultural agreement. It is a list of direct payments that are excluded from the AMS calculations (yellow box).
- Paragraph 2: General services e.g. B. Research, advice, inspection services, etc.
- Paragraph 3: Public storage for reasons of food security
- Paragraph 4: Internal food aid (at the current market price)
- Paragraph 5: Direct payments to producers
- Paragraph 6: Decoupled income support
- Paragraph 7: Financial participation of the public sector in income insurance and other income protection programs
- Paragraph 8: Payments as aid in the event of natural disasters
- Paragraph 9: Structural adjustment aid in the form of retirement programs for producers
- Paragraph 10: Structural adjustment aid in the form of programs for the closure of resources
- Paragraph 11: Structural adjustment aid in the form of investment aid
- Paragraph 12: Payments under environmental programs
- Paragraph 13: Payment under regional aid programs
The direct payments to producers are not tied to anything other than a fixed, historical "base period" (so-called decoupled payments).
Measures that are "outlawed" by the Agriculture Agreement, d. H. are forbidden. These include B. non-tariff measures such as variable fees. This term is rarely used. When the " General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - GATT" was developed in various rounds with the establishment in 1947 and a growing number of developing countries signed this agreement, the member states established the principle in the 1960s that the Developing countries should be given greater flexibility than developed countries. SDT recognizes the disadvantages of developing countries in the world trading system. The starting conditions for the poorest countries to participate in world trade are much worse due to their limited capacities. This recognition is referred to as special and differential treatment (SDT, SND). Although in many agreements, such as the AoA, the planned SDTs are seen by some as inadequate, the WTO continues to use the term SDT.