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When the Peace Ends: The Vulnerability of EC and US Agricultural Subsidies to WTO Legal Challenge


  • Richard H. Steinberg
  • Timothy E. Josling


Article 13 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, known as the 'Peace Clause', precludes most WTO dispute settlement challenges against a country that is complying with the Agreement's liberalization commitments -- until 1 January 2004, when the Peace Clause will expire. This article evaluates the strength of the main legal theories likely to be used in challenges to EC and US agricultural subsidies after expiry of the Peace Clause, and then employs economic techniques (regression analysis and equilibrium modeling) to meaningfully apply the soundest legal theories to economic data about agriculture trade. We conclude that when the Peace Clause expires, many commodity-specific EC and US agricultural subsidies will be vulnerable to legal challenge under Articles 6.3(a)--(c) and 6.4 of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. The remedy would require that such subsidies be withdrawn or that appropriate steps be taken to remove their adverse effects. Non-subsidizing developing countries can be expected to bargain in the shadow of this legal vulnerability, demanding that the Community and the United States commit to further subsidy reductions and a shift toward tariffs-and-decoupled-payments systems, in exchange for extension of the Peace Clause. Copyright Oxford University Press 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard H. Steinberg & Timothy E. Josling, 2003. "When the Peace Ends: The Vulnerability of EC and US Agricultural Subsidies to WTO Legal Challenge," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 369-417, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:6:y:2003:i:2:p:369-417

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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Swinbank, 2008. "Potential WTO Challenges to the CAP-super-†," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 56(4), pages 445-456, December.
    2. Mejía Cubillos, Javier, 2012. ""Agro, Ingreso Seguro" en perspectiva: Un análisis de políticas públicas
      ["Agro, Ingreso Seguro" in a public policy analysis perspective]
      ," MPRA Paper 39998, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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