Oxford Ideas Institutions And Trade

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The consensus rule of GATT implied that all members had veto power, including the EU, which also has additional bargaining power as a result of its large market (Steinberg 2002). Despite these bargaining advantages, the EU accepted an erosion of agricultural exceptionalism in world trade rules. So, in Chapter 4, we address the question: Why and how was agricultural exceptionalism eventually eroded in the UR? Although, as argued earlier, the specific reduction commitments of the URAA were only expected to have limited immediate impact upon domestic farm policies, disputes over the legal interpretation of the UR texts inevitably arose, and the new DSU was called into play.

2004: 106) convincingly argue that agricultural normalism ‘became globally institutionalized in the set of rules in the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture negotiated in the UR. 8 Change in the farm trade regime was fundamental, not so much because of the constraints in terms of specific commitments to reduce farm support and protection which it put on WTO member states, but rather in terms of the underlying perception of agriculture. It significantly altered the debate about the future of agricultural policies and international farm trade rules.

Formal and informal rules of decision-making bodies specify how decisions are to be made, narrow down the agenda being discussed, prescribe certain types of solutions, and specify actors’ obligations and even roles to play. By performing these functions, institutions provide a certain degree of certainty by structuring expectations on other actors’ behaviour and the issues being addressed, how they are processed and, not least, how decisions are made and implemented. In the institutionalist literature, institutions have an independent effect on policy decisions since they constrain certain actions and facilitate others.

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