The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the international rules of global trade, based on agreements negotiated among its member countries. The WTO monitors the application of jointly agreed rules, functions as a forum for negotiating new agreements and provides a framework for settling trade disputes. In the sector of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, key WTO agreements include the Agreement on Agriculture and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the “SPS Agreement”), governing the global trade in agricultural products.
WTO negotiations on the further liberalisation of trade have been in progress since 2001 as part of the so-called Doha Round of trade negotiations. The aim of the negotiations is to reach an understanding on a wide range of topics. One of the key issues is the liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, including rules and restrictions on aid to agriculture. Progress in the negotiations has been slow.
In Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has the overall responsibility for WTO matters, but the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry actively participates in monitoring the application of rules through the WTO Committees on Agriculture and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. The Ministry is also active in the preparation of Finland’s official positions in the Doha Round negotiations.
Useful external websites
Further information: Mr Markus Schulman, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295 16 2475