In the run-up to the 1986 GATT Ministerial Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, agricultural lobbies in industrialized countries have vehemently opposed agricultural trade-offs. In this context, the idea of excluding «trade-neutral» production and subsidies from WTO commitments was first proposed in 1987 by the United States and soon replicated by the EU.  By guaranteeing continued support to farmers, it has also neutralized the opposition. In exchange for the integration of agriculture into WTO disciplines and the obligation to reduce trade-distorting subsidies in the future, developed countries could maintain subsidies that result in «no more than minimal trade distortion» in order to achieve different public policy objectives.  The 2003 CAP reform, which decoupled most of the existing direct aid, and the sectoral reforms that followed, resulted in the deferral of most aid under the amber box and the blue box to the green box (61.6 billion euros in 2016/2017, see table below). Aid under the «amber box» (AMS) has fallen sharply, from EUR 81 billion at the beginning of the period of the agreement to EUR 6.9 billion between 2016 and 2017, even with successive waves of expansion. The European Union thus largely respects the commitments made in Marrakech (72.38 billion euros per year) for the AMS. In addition, the «blue box» reached 4.6 billion euros during the same notification period. The 1947 GATT initially applied to agriculture, but was incomplete, and the signatory states (or «contracting parties») excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the general agreement.
During the period 1947-1994, members were allowed to use export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials faced trade barriers in unusual proportions in other sectors. The road to a fair, market-oriented agricultural trade system has therefore been difficult and time-consuming; and the negotiations were finally concluded during the Uruguay Round. Agriculture has a special status in WTO agreements and trade agreements (signed in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995), with the sector having a specific agreement, the agriculture agreement, whose provisions prevail. In addition, some provisions of the agreement on the application of plant protection measures (SPS) also concern agricultural production and trade. The same applies to the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) with respect to the protection of geographical denominations. In addition, the provisions of the agreement on agriculture are complemented by the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (OTC) and by technical assistance mechanisms. The CAP is also affected by land concessions granted to several multilateral and bilateral agreements under several multilateral and bilateral agreements, as well as unilateral exemptions granted under the Generalized Preference System (GSP). These preferential agreements explain the high level of EU agricultural imports from developing countries (3.2.10, Table VI). 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).
The agreement defines, in Appendix 1, agricultural products by reference to the harmonized product classification system and covers not only agricultural commodities such as wheat, milk and live animals, but also by-products, such as bread, butter and meat, as well as all processed agricultural products such as chocolate and deli meats.