Almost all domestic support measures, considered (with a few exceptions) as a distortion of production and trade, are included in the amber box defined in Article 6 of the agricultural agreement as all domestic aid, with the exception of aid in the blue and green boxes. These include price support measures or subsidies directly related to production volumes. The extent of this reduction depends on the nature of the aid. Aid is divided into different “boxes” depending on their impact on trade distortion in agricultural markets. For new members who are transitional economies, the requirement is based on the state of their savings and on the implementation by new members of their obligations under their accession agreements. Some call for special and differentiated treatment on the basis of “objective criteria” such as level of development and per capita income, and argue that some “developing countries” are richer and have more developed agricultural sectors than some countries in transition. In addition to special and differentiated treatment under the green box, the types of aid that fall into the “development” category are direct or indirect measures of support for agricultural and rural development that are an integral part of developing countries` development programmes. These include investment subsidies generally available to agriculture in developing countries, subsidies to agricultural contributions generally available to low-income and low-resource producers in developing countries, and national assistance to producers in developing countries to encourage diversification through the cultivation of illicit plants. In the 1980s, public payments to agricultural producers in industrialized countries generated large crop surpluses, which were unloaded by export subsidies on the world market, causing food prices to fall. Tax pressure on safeguards has increased, due to both lower import duty revenues and increased domestic spending. Meanwhile, the global economy has entered a cycle of recession and the perception that market opening could improve economic conditions has led to calls for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations.  The cycle would open up markets for high-tech services and goods and ultimately generate much-needed efficiency gains.
To engage developing countries, many of which were new international disciplines, agriculture, textiles and clothing were added to the big deal.  Agricultural subsidies in the WTO green box are policies that are not constrained by the trade agreement because they are not considered trade-distorting. For now, the blue box is a permanent provision of the agreement. Some countries want it removed because payments are only partially decoupled from production, or they propose commitments to reduce the use of these subsidies. Others argue that the blue box is an important tool to support and reform agriculture and achieve certain non-trade objectives, and argue that it should not be limited because it distorts trade less than other types of support (see non-trade concerns). The EU says it is ready to negotiate further cuts to amber-box aid as long as the blue and green box concepts are maintained. The World Trade Organization (WTO) compares the “boxes” it uses for the classification of trade subsidies at traffic lights.