The COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an unprecedented drop in oil demand and prices, has once again triggered efforts to support the oil market. In March 2020, OPEC+, as the organization and its allies are called, did not extend the agreed production restrictions. However, demand for oil began to experience one of the strongest residues in recent history due to the travel freeze that followed the outbreak. It has been argued that stabilizing the price paid for only a portion of world export sales tends to largely destabilize the price of the rest (Johnson, 1950). However, the general arguments in favour of this theoretical position have not been definitively proven. An important consideration is the inelasticity of demand in the stabilized part of the market compared to that in the unstabilized sector. For example, ensuring an adequate supply of sugar in the United States and wheat in the United Kingdom has tended to stabilize globally under successive international agreements or national control programmes. International Commodity Agreements (ICAs) are essentially multilateral instruments of state control that support the international price of different primary raw materials, particularly through agreements such as export quotas or secure market access. Therefore, international commodity agreements must be distinguished from commodity task forces that are totally lacking in operational responsibility; international agreements of a non-governmental nature; and the Combined Food Board (1942-1945) or the International Materials Conference (1951-1953), which used international allocative machines for a significant number of primary raw materials in times of wartime shortages. The proposed definition also excludes the following “close” forms of international obligations: (1) large-scale bilateral acceptance agreements; (2) multilateral arrangements for the control of outlets for industrial products, such as the International Convention on Cotton Textiles negotiated in 1961; (3) the arrangements for sectoral integration along the model of the European Coal and Steel Community or the common agricultural policy of the European Economic Community; (4) plans for a commodity reserve currency; (5) proposals for international food reserves; and (6) measures to reduce tariffs or non-tariff restrictions on cross-border trade in goods or services. International commodity agreements in their modern form can be dated to the Brussels Sugar Convention (1902), under which major contemporary exporters of beet sugar pledged to support the international market by abandoning national export subsidy systems.

The most important agreement of the 1920s was the Stevenson Rubber Scheme, implemented by the British and Dutch governments on behalf of their respective colonial territories in Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies. This regime, which led to a large but short-lived increase in prices (Whittlesey 1931), was frankly restrictive in nature, and experience in this area was the main reason for certain guarantees included in Chapter 5 of the Havana Charter for an International Trade Organization (United Nations 1947). .