2 - The historical context of the green box  pp. 19-35

The historical context of the green box

By Néstor Stancanelli

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Some history

The International Economy

The long-term growth and composition of international trade depends, at the economic level, upon changes in demand and, ultimately, production patterns, and at the political level, on the interaction of conflicts of interest and cooperative efforts among different national states and regions. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), from its inception after the Second World War, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), from 1994 onwards, are clear examples of the struggle to reign over these conflicts of interest and, at the same time, to adapt multilateral institutions to the changing patterns of the international economy. Agriculture by itself is an ideal field of research to test these changes in demand and the political interaction already referred to.

From an economic point of view, for more than 60 years after the crisis of 1929, farming production was affected by decreasing income elasticity of demand, meaning that its share in total consumption diminished at the same time as income grew. This process, which can be called the autonomous trend of demand, led to changes in world relative prices (terms of trade) between agriculture and manufactured goods.

The adjustment in supply that should have followed as a result of this change was nevertheless not automatic, depending on the commercial policies followed at the national level.

“Agriculture and the GATT: Rewriting the Rules”, Institute for International Economics, Geneva (September 1987).
“An Approach for a Concerted Reduction of Support in the Long Term” (MTN.GNG/NG5/W/82) (21 October 1988).
“Cairns Group Proposal to the Uruguay Round Negotiating Group on Agriculture” (MTN. GNG/NG5/W/21) (26 October 1987).
“Decoupling Open Questions” (Jesús Antón) (2005).
“Decoupling: a Conceptual Overview” (Jesús Antón) (1999).
“Domestic Support: The basis for exemption from the reduction commitment” (green box, MTN.GNG/AG/W/1/Add.3) (August 1991).
“Elaboration of the United States Proposal on Agriculture. The Aggregate Measure of Support” (MTN.GNG/NG5/W/75) (13 September 1988).
“European Communities Proposal For Multilateral Trade Negotiations on Agriculture” (MTN.GNG/NG5/W/19) (26 October 1987).
“Foreign Trade in the Present and a New International Economic Order”, University of Fribourg (1988).
“Global proposal on the Long Term Objectives of the Negotiations” (MTN.GNG/NG5/W/145) (20 December 1989).
“Policy Brief. Decoupling Agricultural support from Production” (November 2006).
“The De Zeeuw Text on Agriculture” (MTN.GNG.NG5/W/170) (July 1990).
“The EEC Approach on the Aggregate Measure of Support” (MTN. GNG/NG5/W/96) (10 July 1989).
“The Evolution of International Trade” (Haberler Report) (October 1958).
“The impact on investment and production of different agricultural policy instruments. Principal Findings” (Jesús Antón) (June 2005).
“Trade Policies for a Better Future” (The Leutwiler Report) (1987).
“Trading for Growth: The next Round of Trade Negotiations”, Institute for International Economics, Geneva (September 1985).
“United States Proposal for Negotiations on Agriculture” (MTN.GNG/NG5/W/14) (7 July 1987).
Arthur Dunkel Draft of a Final Act (December 1991).
IMF And World Bank Annual Reports.
International Trade Statistics (several years).
Note by the Chairman, “Options in the Agriculture Negotiations” (MTN.GNG/AG/W/1) (June 1991).
OECD, Agricultural Reports (1988–2007).
The Ministerial Declaration of Punta del Este (20 September 1986).
Uruguay Round Final Act, Marrakesh (April 1994).