World Trade Organization
European Union agricultural subsidies and their impact on future trade agreements
The European Union and the subsidies that they currently have in place can be seen as a positive move towards globalization as the European Union moves expands and consolidates Europe. On the other hand, European Union subsidies are also seen as a major dividing factor between developed nations and those nations that are developing, which is what has created conflict recently in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The history of such subsidies and events at the last three WTO Conferences should serve for an interesting and interesting debate.
The main agricultural policy in the European Union is the European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This Agricultural policy provides mostly for domestic farmers and attempting to sustain the agricultural way of life. The four ways in which this was done, is through domestic price support, direct payments, supply control, and border measures. Through domestic price controls, the European Union provides a constant guaranteed price for its farmers. Direct payments allow European Union farmers to get a direct benefit and directly liquitable form. Supply control allows the European Union to ensure that farmers are guaranteed the aforementioned benefits. Finally, border measures allow the European Union to trade the goods internally. The effects of CAP give the European Union an economic edge over many nations. Yet, it also provides fodder against the European Union from nations in the third world because it's stringent economic controls over both imports and exports. This conflict has played a major role in the collapse of the last three WTO conferences that have occurred.
The first major WTO conference that subsidies in Europe took a role was in the 1999 Seattle Conference. This conference was marked by anti-globalization protests and inevitable action by local authorities to quell the conflict. The conference itself was considered a failure on the fact that, even then, the European Union was trying to avidly protect its subsidies. Only during the Seattle Conference, the major conflict was between the United States and the European Union in agricultural subsidies. Many blame this conflict on the resulting failure of any real progression in international cooperation on this topic among others.
The second major WTO conference in this regard is the 2001 Doha Conference. There were no major protests in Doha because of the various rules in Qatar against such rules, but agricultural subsidies were again brought up. It was at this conference that the European Union was willing to ease up on its subsidies, but only if the smaller nations demanding the easing of subsidies will also pay more attention to environmental issues as well. It was at this point and at several other points such as AIDS medication patents that caused this conference to grind to a major halt.
Most recently, the need to come to some kind of agreement on the topic of agricultural subsidies became more prevalent at the most recent Cancun conference of the WTO met. At this conference the European Union and other major nations such as the United States would not ease up their subsidies to the extent that the G21, a coalition of Lesser Developed Countries that consists of countries in South America, South and South East Asia, and North and South Africa. These nations have nothing to lose when it comes to demanding more easements in the subsidies of the European Union and the United States. The G21 also found resistance among other LDC nations that did not want exclusive trade ties to Europe harmed by a potentially negative stance towards subsidies. Most of these countries are former colonial states with valuable goods like bananas and have exclusive contracts with Europe to trade these goods. Such an easement in subsidies would cause further competition by other Less Developed Countries that make up the G21. Between this conflict and conflicts over crediting that came from Non Government Organizations lead to the collapse of these talks.
With this history, the 2003, MUN, WTO, conference should try and frame the issue and try and put forward resolutions that attempt to solve the problems that arise from a lack of competition created by the European Union's lack of cooperation when it comes to lowering subsidies, if your country sees this lack of cooperation as a problem. Hopefully, there will be no violent rioting and this WTO conference that will happen in Missoula will have a better fate than its counterparts in the real world.
European Communities – Measures affecting the approval and marketing of biotech products
This particular topic is an actual topic in the Dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization. The main pieces of legislation that affect the course of action on this particular topic are as follows:
Articles 2.2, 2.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.5, 5.6, 7, 8, and paragraphs 1,2 and 5 of Annex B, and paragraphs 1(a), 1(b), 1(c), and 1(e) of Annex C of the SPS Agreement;
Articles 2.1, 2.2, 2.8, 2.9, 2.11, 2.12, 5.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.2.3, 5.6 and 5.8 of the TBT Agreement;
Articles I:1, III:4, X:1, and XI:1 of the GATT 1994;
Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture.
In order for this to be a fully functioning topic in the World Trade Organization it will be important for all member states to be familiar with the GATT 1994, DSU, SPS Agreement and the TBT.
This dispute is a result of the (EC) European Communities having maintained a suspension on the approval of agricultural biotechnology products since 1998. Since the placement of certain EC approval processes many of the agricultural biotech products have still not been allowed to begin the importation of their products due to certain member states refusing to allow the printing of certification letters or things of that nature. Thus far in the W.T.O. there has been the establishment of a couple of panels, of the two that are established one is under the control of Canada and the other is being controlled by Argentina. There are many other countries that have joined the panel with the understanding that the outcome of these consultations will greatly affect these member states. There are a great number of products that are being affected by this, of these the most important or prevalent are Maize, Soya, Cotton, Canola/rape seed and Oilseed canola/rape.
The importance of this topic on the W.T.O. is of distinct measure. It has a big affect on many trade and tariff agreements as well as many agreements of agriculture. In this committee you are going to be asked to settle a dispute which in affecting the real world. It is important to make sure that you understand the materials that will come into question and are aware that you are the governing body on this particular subject. With this topic the member states in question have turned to the W.T.O. to get this dispute resolved in accordance to the rules and agreements that have been put into place by the W.T.O.