Transparency and timeliness: the monitoring of agricultural policies in the WTO using OECD data

Transparency in the multilateral trade system is fundamental. Monitoring the compliance of WTO members with their obligations is an important part of that transparency, and timeliness in the notification of compliance is crucial. In the case of domestic support to agriculture, the notifications of compliance with obligations has been slow and opaque. But another database exists that could both illuminate the extent to which policy instruments are correctly notified and provide a convenient way to ensure timely ‘pre-notifications’ in the event that delays occur in the future. This note shows how the OECD database can be used, for example, to shed light on the extent to which payments to producers that require production as a matter of eligibility are presently notified to the WTO as having no effect on production. We also demonstrate the feasibility of using OECD data to construct ‘pre-notifications’ by calculating the (as yet un-notified) domestic support notifications for the EU for the years 2009/10 and 2010/11.