In view of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), signed in Geneva in 1947, and the world trade organization (WTO) agreement signed in Marrakech in 1994 (OJ L 1994, p. The European Union and its Member States act in accordance with Article 207 (Common Trade Policy) and Articles 217 and 218 (International Agreements) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (5.2.2). In the 1980s, public payments to agricultural producers in industrialized countries generated large crop surpluses, which were unloaded by export subsidies on the world market, causing food prices to fall. Tax pressure on safeguards has increased, due to both lower import duty revenues and increased domestic spending. Meanwhile, the global economy has entered a cycle of recession and the perception that market opening could improve economic conditions has led to calls for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations.  The cycle would open up markets for high-tech services and goods and ultimately generate much-needed efficiency gains. To engage developing countries, many of which were new international disciplines, agriculture, textiles and clothing were added to the big deal.  Although agriculture is still covered by the GATT, there were significant differences in the rules for primary agricultural products as opposed to industrial products before the WTO. The 1947 GATT allowed countries to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products, while export subsidies for industrial products were prohibited. The only conditions were that agricultural export subsidies should not be used to cover more than a fair share of world merchandise exports (Article XVI:3 of GATT). The GATT rules also allowed countries to resort, under certain conditions, to import restrictions (for example. B import quota), particularly where these restrictions were necessary to impose effective measures to limit domestic production (Article XI, paragraph 2, sub c) of the GATT).
This derogation was also conditional on the fact that a minimum share of imports relative to domestic production was maintained. These agreements provide some flexibility in implementation by developing countries as well as for WTO members (special and differentiated treatment) and least developed countries (LDCs) and net food-importing developing countries (special provisions). Export subsidies are the third pillar. The 1995 agricultural agreement required industrialized countries to reduce export subsidies by at least 36% (in value terms) or by 21% (by volume) over a six-year value.