One of the major aims laid out by OECD at its creation in 1960 was the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, non-discriminatory basis in accordance with international obligations.
The Trade Committee and its general Working Party were initiated at that time to fulfil this mandate, in particular by attempting to maintain the momentum for further trade liberalisation and to foster the efficient functioning of the multilateral trading system centred on the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Often working in collaboration with other OECD bodies and through dialogue with non-member economies, their approach has been to foster informed debate, build consensus and promote policy co-ordination, while generally leaving formal trade negotiations to other bodies such as the WTO.
To achieve its goals in the field of trade and trade policy, OECD undertakes informed policy analysis of market access and regulatory issues, as well as trade rules and policy links.
Key areas of work in trade include trade liberalisation, export credits and trade in services.
Visit the Trade topic site for further information.
Agriculture and Fisheries
OECD Ministers of Agriculture have agreed to the long-term objective of substantial reductions in support, and have adopted shared goals for the sector. The ministers have recognised "OECD's analysis...is an essential contribution to the understanding of agricultural policies and their international impacts". They have also called for further efforts to ensure sustainable management of fisheries resources.
To date, only modest progress has been made in reforming policies and liberalising trade. At the same time, globalisation, technological progress, structural adjustments and societal expectations are changing the environment in which agriculture and fisheries operate, in developed and developing countries. In response, a wide-ranging work programme is in place to help inform public policy choices.
Analytical and advisory activities of the OECD encompass policy monitoring and evaluation, medium term outlook scenarios, issues at the interface of domestic and trade policy, and issues in achieving sustainable agriculture and fisheries. The perspectives of non-member economies are considered via the Global Forum on Agriculture, and are integrated across relevant work activities.
The Committee for Agriculture and the Committee for Fisheries oversee on-going development of the work programme. The OECD also manages a programme to develop product standards that facilitate trade and a co-operative research programme for sustainable agricultural systems. Consultation with civil society and a range of other communication efforts are key elements of OECD activities.
Notable work on agriculture includes policy reform, sustainability and standards for agricultural commodities. In fisheries we advise governments on policies to ensure sustainable management of resources.
Visit the OECD Agriculture and Fisheries topic site for further information