International Coffee Agreement

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International Coffee Agreement

International Coffee Agreement, the 1962 and 1983 accords reached by the coffee-producing and consuming nations of the world to stabilize the international coffee market and to alleviate the difficulties related to excessive fluctuations in the levels of world supplies, stocks, and prices of coffee. The agreements sought to establish a balance between supply and demand and to maintain prices at equitable levels. The principal mechanism of the agreements was the apportionment of export quotas, adjusted to world demand, among the producing nations.

The first international agreement to protect the coffee industry was the 1940 Inter-American Coffee Marketing Agreement, which expired in 1948. Aimed at providing a market for fourteen Latin American coffee-producing countries who were affected by the closing of European markets during World War II, the agreement established U.S. import quotas at reasonable prices. Surplus production and falling prices in the late 1950s led Portugal and Latin American producers to create the International Coffee Organization (ICO) to promote international consumption of coffee and to research ways of improving the quality of coffee and the reduction of production costs.

The short supply of coffee and changing production conditions after 1970 led to disagreement between producing and consuming nations that might have jeopardized the continuation of the 1962 treaty. In 1983, a new agreement endorsed the same principles outlined in the 1962 treaty and highlighted, in addition, the promotion and maintenance of employment and income in member countries to help bring about fair wages, higher living standards, and better working conditions.

Three additional agreements were negotiated after 1983. The 1994 agreement established that the focus of the ICO would be production and diffusion of knowledge on sustainable management of the coffee industry and trade, as well as the effects of coffee on health. In 2001 the parties agreed to encourage the development of a sustainable coffee economy and promote the consumption of the product while raising its standards for quality. The agreement of 2007 encouraged members to adopt safety standards and develop strategies to help local communities in coffee producing areas, while recognizing their responsibility to the achievement of international development goals.

See alsoCoffee Industry .


Helen Delpar, ed., Encyclopedia of Latin America (1974).

Department of State, International Coffee Agreement, 1983, Between the United States of America and Other Governments (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Frederick, Kenneth D. "Production Controls under the International Coffee Agreements: An Evaluation of Brazil's Programs." Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 12:2 (Apr 1970), 255-270.

Mueller, Charles Curt. "O impacto do acôrdo internacional do café sôbre o preço do café/The Impact of the International Coffee Agreement on the Price of Coffee." Revista Brasileira de Economia, 25:3 (July-Sept 1971), 131-166.

                                Nancy Priscilla S. Naro

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International Coffee Agreement

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International Coffee Agreement