Aggies for WTO Reform

The Coalition believes in the purpose of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and therefore wants it to function well, which means we all have an investment in WTO reform. The rules-based trading system is generally seen as positive for U.S. agriculture, but its rules have hardly been updated since its inception. Having a functioning dispute settlement system is also important help ensure the rules are effective. Market based trade in food and agriculture products helps farmers around the world by expanding their pool of potential customers and supporting farm income, while helping consumers buy affordable food. The WTO's rules for trade are the basis for all our agriculture exports. The system must work for U.S. producers, agribusinesses, and workers to find and access more customers and markets overseas and help rural communities thrive.

The Coalition includes leading U.S. agricultural organizations representing farmers, businesses, and workers with an objective to specify mutual and realistic priorities for agricultural reforms at the WTO that will yield long-term benefits for U.S. producers and agribusinesses.

For more information, contact: Ben Conner,

Coalition Members

  • Almond Board of California
  • American Seed Trade Association
  • American Soybean Association
  • Corn Refiners Association
  • CropLife America
  • International Dairy Foods Association
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • National Pork Producers Council
  • U.S. Dairy Export Council
  • U.S. Grains Council
  • U.S. Soybean Export Council
  • U.S. Wheat Associates
  • USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
  • USA Rice

Coalition’s Priorities for WTO Reform

Reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and improved U.S. engagement would benefit the people who work in the U.S. food and agriculture sector, which supports 40 million American jobs and contributes $7 trillion to the U.S. economy. U.S. agriculture depends on vibrant international institutions like the WTO and robust commercial diplomacy. Trade supports critical income for American farmers of all sizes and the small businesses and economic viability of the rural communities in which they live. It helps connect American farming communities to people around the globe.

When the WTO functions to support market based trade policies and countries abide by the WTO rules to which they all have agreed, our government and international institutions can build trust with stakeholders -  consumers, workers and businesses alike. To restore trust, WTO reform is needed; reform that leads to a market liberalizing agenda for agriculture and a better functioning institution. This will help improve global agricultural sustainability and support rural communities, workers, and good-paying jobs across the United States.

The following principles and suggestions can help ensure WTO reform is meaningful for U.S. agriculture:

  1. WTO reform should lead toward further market-based and sustainable trade liberalization, reduced distortions, enhanced transparency, and a more effective and efficient dispute settlement system.
  2. New areas of negotiation on topics like climate change and sustainability are important developments that have the potential to raise global ambitions on environmental sustainability, including in agriculture. The United States should pursue a science-based and data-driven approach to these negotiations that embraces innovation and prevents abuse that could lead to disguised restrictions on trade.
  3. Predictable and transparent trade rules enabled by a reformed WTO could lower barriers to access and facilitate greater participation in trade by a wide diversity of stakeholders, while improving the livelihoods of those already engaged in the global marketplace.
  4. Any negotiation on any element of agricultural domestic support should be tied to enhancing market access for U.S. food and agricultural goods at a commensurate level.
  5. Any outcome on agricultural domestic support and market access should require that significant
    developing country agriculture exporters meet the same level of ambition as developed countries and establish a graduation process for developing countries.
  6. Agriculture outcomes that are inconsistent with the objectives in Article 20 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture – including new special safeguard mechanisms or a permanent solution on public stockholding – should not be used as a trade-off for non-agriculture outcomes.
  7. Dispute settlement could be a more effective deterrent to protectionist measures. In addition to reforming and reinstating a functional Appellate Body, an active, offensive U.S. litigation agenda and a more streamlined and timely dispute settlement process to level the playing field for American farmers is needed. USTR could improve use of the ad hoc consultative mechanism of the SPS Agreement, the formal DSU consultation mechanism, and – when other avenues have failed or are likely to fail – formal litigation before dispute settlement panels.