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From the launch of GATT in 1948, through to the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, the niceties of international trade rules had little impact on the design and implementation of EU farm policies. GATT was built on consensus, but powerful economic actors (such as the EU) were to a large extent able to implement farm policies that best suited their perceived needs. This agricultural exceptionalism (a term used by political scientists) had been promoted by the US in the 1940s and 1950s, but was cultivated by the EU (and others) in the 1960s and 1970s. However, dating from the Punta del Este declaration of 1986 launching the Uruguay Round, agricultural exceptionalism has been under pressure and the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture of 1994 (the URAA) did, to some extent, curb agricultural exceptionalism and continues so doing through the WTO dispute settlement body.


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