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Agricultural Trade: What Matters in the Doha Round?

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  • David Laborde

    ()
    (International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC, 20006-1002)

  • Will Martin

    ()
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 20433)

Abstract

This survey concludes that including agriculture in the negotiations was particularly important economically. Although agricultural exports are less than 10% of merchandise trade, the high and variable protection in this sector appears to account for the majority of the cost of distortions in global merchandise trade. Within agriculture, most of the costs appear to arise from trade barriers levied on imports, because these barriers tend to be high and variable across products and over time and are levied by many countries that do not use subsidies. The diverse interests of participants resulted in very complex proposals and a tendency for countries to focus on the political costs of an agreement, rather than on the potential economic benefits. The negotiations faced a need for balance between discipline in reducing tariffs and flexibility in managing political pressures. Although the approach of providing flexibilities on a certain percentage of tariff lines is seriously flawed, the proposed modalities still appear to provide worthwhile market access. There need to be better ways of dealing with developing countries’ concerns about food price volatility while reducing the collective-action problems resulting from price insulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (08)
Pages: 265-283

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Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:4:y:2012:p:265-283

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Related research

Keywords: agricultural policy; food policy; trade policy; WTO; Doha Development Agenda; tariff cuts; market access; domestic support;

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References

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  1. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2006. "The Relative Importance of Global Agricultural Subsidies and Market Access," CEPR Discussion Papers 5569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bernard Hoekman, 2011. "Aid for Trade: Why, what and where are we?," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
  3. Sébastien Jean & David Laborde & Will Martin, 2005. "Consequences of Alternative Formulas for Agricultural Tariff Cuts," Working Papers 2005-15, CEPII research center.
  4. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
  5. Baldwin, Robert E & Lage, Gerald M, 1971. "A Multilateral Model of Trade-Balancing Tariff Concessions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(3), pages 237-44, August.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2006. "What do trade negotiators negotiate about? Empirical evidence from the World Trade Organization," Discussion Papers 0607-04, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  7. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
  8. Gouel, Christophe & Jean, Sebastien, 2012. "Optimal food price stabilization in a small open developing country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5943, The World Bank.
  9. Diao, Xinshen & Somwaru, Agapi & Roe, Terry L., 2001. "A Global Analysis Of Agricultural Trade Reform In Wto Member Countries," Bulletins 12984, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  10. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Woan Foong Wong, 2010. "Figuring Out the Doha Round," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa91, November.
  11. Boumellassa, Houssein & Debucquet, David Laborde & Mitaritonna, Cristina, 2009. "A picture of tariff protection across the World in 2004: MAcMap-HS6, Version 2," IFPRI discussion papers 903, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. Anderson, Kym & Hoekman, Bernard & Strutt, Anna, 2001. "Agriculture and the WTO: Next Steps," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 192-214, May.
  13. Will Martin & Patrick Messerlin, 2007. "Why is it so difficult? Trade liberalization under the Doha Agenda," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 347-366, Autumn.
  14. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4594, The World Bank.
  15. Sébastien Jean & David Laborde & Will Martin, 2011. "Formulas and Flexibility in Trade Negotiations: Sensitive Agricultural Products in the World Trade Organization's Doha Agenda," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(3), pages 500-519, February.
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