Analytical Note, December 2015

WTO’s MC10: Agriculture Negotiations – Special Safeguard in Agriculture for Developing Countries

The agricultural safeguard is important for developing countries. Most developed countries already have access to a special agricultural safeguard as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations, and
some of them have actively utilised this Special Safeguard Provisions (SSG) through the past 20 years.

Developing countries require a similar instrument because of the many agricultural import surges taking place. In fact, import surges has been such a major problem that it has led to structural changes in developing countries’ agricultural production and trade, with far-reaching and often devastating implications for developing countries’ small farmers.

This note touches upon the negative impact of import surges on developing countries; the Special Safeguard Provision (SSG) and its use; a summary of the Special Safeguard Mechanism negotiations,
including touching on the 9 December SSG proposal of the G33; and reasons why an agricultural safeguard if provided will not be ‘over-used’.

Furthermore, developed Members providing large amounts of domestic supports have still not been forthcoming in delivering on the Doha promise of ‘substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic
supports’. The safeguard is therefore important for developing countries in the overall context of imbalanced agricultural trade rules.

A safeguard which can be used by developing countries, and which is effective in its remedy, ifagreed to, would be a concrete development outcome.


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