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In WTO terminology, subsidies in general are identified by “boxes” which are given the colours of traffic lights: green (permitted), amber (slow down — i.e. be reduced), red (forbidden). In agriculture, things are, as usual, more complicated. The Agriculture Agreement has no red box, although domestic support exceeding the reduction commitment levels in the amber box is prohibited; and there is a blue box for subsidies that are tied to programmes that limit production.

Category of domestic support.

— Green box: supports considered not to distort trade and therefore permitted with no limits.

— Blue box: permitted supports linked to production, but subject to production limits and therefore minimally trade-distorting.

— Amber box: supports considered to distort trade and therefore subject to reduction commitments.

Source Publication:
Doha World Trade Organisation Ministerial: Glossary of Terms
World Trade Organisation, 2013, website.


Statistical Theme: International trade statistics

Created on Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Last updated on Thursday, March 28, 2013