Domestic support regimes for agriculture are governed by the agriculture agreement, which came into force in 1995 and was negotiated during the Uruguay Round (1986-1994). The long-term goal of the AoA is to establish a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system and to initiate a reform process through negotiations on promised commitments and safeguards and by defining more effective and operationally effective rules and disciplines. Agriculture is therefore special, because the sector has its own agreement, the provisions of which are given priority. At the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in 2013, ministers also agreed on a range of agriculture-related issues. The 1947 GATT initially applied to agriculture, but was incomplete, and the signatory states (or “contracting parties”) excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the general agreement. During the period 1947-1994, members were allowed to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials faced trade barriers in unusual proportions in other sectors. The road to a fair, market-oriented agricultural trade system has therefore been difficult and time-consuming; and the negotiations were finally concluded during the Uruguay Round. Agriculture has a special status in WTO agreements and trade agreements (signed in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995), with the sector having a specific agreement, the agriculture agreement, whose provisions prevail. In addition, some provisions of the agreement on the application of plant protection measures (SPS) also concern agricultural production and trade. The same applies to the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) with respect to the protection of geographical denominations. In addition, the provisions of the agreement on agriculture are complemented by the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (OTC) and by technical assistance mechanisms. The CAP is also affected by land concessions granted to several multilateral and bilateral agreements under several multilateral and bilateral agreements, as well as unilateral exemptions granted under the Generalized Preference System (GSP).
These preferential agreements explain the high level of EU agricultural imports from developing countries (3.2.10, Table VI). The reform of the 2003 CAP, which decoupled most of the existing direct aid, and the sectoral reforms that followed led to the deferral of most aid under the amber box and the blue box to the green box (61.6 billion euros in 2016/2017, see table below). Aid under the “amber box” (AMS) has fallen sharply, from EUR 81 billion at the beginning of the period of the agreement to EUR 6.9 billion between 2016 and 2017, even with successive waves of expansion.