By Timothy E. Josling, Stefan Tangermann, T. K. Warley (auth.)
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The recommendations of Committee II echoed those of the Haberler Committee in that they centred on a moderation of agricultural protection in both importing and exporting countries and the adoption of structural policies that would reduce the farm population. These recommendations were notable only in so far as they were made by representatives of natio nal governments rather than by independent academics. The overall conclusion was more telling. In its third report the Committee drew the conclusion that there has been extensive resort to the use of non-tariff devices, whether or not in conformity with the General Agreement, which, in many cases, has impaired or nullified tariff concessions or other benefits which agricultural exporting countries expect to.
The waiver was exceptionally broad. It embraced commodities other than the dairy products which had caused the complaints. It was open-ended in that it applied not only to existing programmes but also to any that might subsequently be introduced. The prior approval of the CONTRACTING PARTIES for new restrictions was not required. Unlike the agricultural waivers later granted to West Germany and Belgium, the US waiver was not limited in time. There was no legal obligation to adopt policy measures that would obviate the need for import fees and quotas.
In fact, only Belgium did so. West Germany was the largest European food importer maintaining import quotas to protect its agriculture. When it was challenged at the Twelfth Session (October-November 1957), it first tried to defend its import practices on balance of payments grounds and then on the claim that the quotas were mandatory under its agricultural marketing laws, and were therefore covered under the protocol of accession it had signed in April 1951. When both these grounds were rejected, West Germany was forced to seek a waiver.
Agriculture in the GATT by Timothy E. Josling, Stefan Tangermann, T. K. Warley (auth.)