International economic relations are having an increasing impact on agriculture. At a global level, agriculture is bound by various sets of rules of which the most important are:
- The UNO: As far as concerns the United Nations and its various agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is the main body with which agriculture is concerned. The Swiss national FAO secretariat and the Swiss delegation to the FAO are the responsibility of the FOAG. Thanks to the fact that Swiss agriculture has adopted the principle of sustainability, the sector also has dealings with other institutions and organisations such as the UN Division for Sustainable Development with its Agenda 21 and world development objectives, the World Health Organisation and the UN Environment Programme.
- The WTO: The World Trade Organisation is the only international organisation that deals with trading regulations between 150 countries. Its main task is to negotiate and ensure the rights and obligations connected with market access for its members.
- The EU: The European Union is the most important trading partner for Switzerland and its agricultural sector. The agricultural agreement included in the various bilateral agreements signed by the EU and Switzerland ensures lower customs duty and more favourable trading conditions for a range of agricultural products.
- The OECD: With a current total of 30 member countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development draws up basic principles and recommendations in various political areas (from taxation to education). As far as concerns agriculture, the OECD collects and analyses information about the various agricultural policies as well as about the interface between agriculture and the environment and trade, and concentrates in particular on monitoring agricultural reforms.
- The EFTA: Today the European Free Trade Association comprises Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and focuses principally on trade between the member countries. In order to promote international trade as well as to avoid its exporters being at a disadvantage, the EFTA countries have signed free-trade agreements with various other countries.
- The IGC: The International Grains Council concentrates on the world's most important and most commonly traded grains. The purpose of the Food Aid Committee is to provide food specifically for those in need efficiently and without upsetting market conditions. The FOAG represents Switzerland on the International Grains Council and the Food Aid Committee.