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Economic issues in tariffication: an overview

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  • Moschini, Giancarlo

Abstract

The agricultural trade liberalization proposal known as 'tariffication' aims at converting all existing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade into bound tariffs, and to reduce these tariffs over time. This is in tune with the original philosophy of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and it calls for a dramatic overhaul of existing agricultural policies in many developed countries. The main economic issues that arise with tariffication stem from the non-equivalence of tariffs and NTBs in a number of scenarios. This paper analyzes non-equivalence arising from the existence of: imperfect competition in importing countries; price instability in importing and exporting countries; and, inefficient allocation of quantitative restrictions. It is shown that in all these cases the definition of an appropriate 'equivalent tariff to be used in tariffication is not straightforward, and that in general this equivalent tariff cannot be computed on the basis of only observed price differences between countries. Tariff-rate quotas, which are meant to be the main tool of implementation of tariffication according to the existing proposal, are analyzed in some detail. Concerning the relationship between tariffication and the other elements of the trade liberalization package, it is shown that tariffication would limit the scope of export subsidy policies. It is also shown that the existence of production and export subsidies makes observed price gaps between countries of questionable value in setting equivalent tariff levels. Finally, it is argued that the main focus of tariffication should be the conversion of NTBs to acceptable long-run (bound) tariffs rates, and considerable flexibility in this conversion process could be exercised in the transition period.

Suggested Citation

  • Moschini, Giancarlo, 1991. "Economic issues in tariffication: an overview," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(2), June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaaeaj:172718
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Garcia, Roberto J., 2015. "No Way to Meet Commitments for Norway’s Meat Imports: An Assessment of WTO Disciplines on Market Access in Agriculture," Working Paper Series 03-2015, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business.
    2. Barichello, Richard R. & Cranfield, John & Meilke, Karl D., "undated". "Options for Supply Management in Canada with Trade Liberalization," 2006 NAAMIC Workshop III: Achieving NAFTA Plus 163876, North American Agrifood Market Integration Consortium (NAAMIC).
    3. Krishna, Kala & Tan, Ling Hui, 2010. "Trade policy with endogenous entry revisited," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 271-279, March.
    4. John C. Beghin & Barbara El Osta & Jay R. Cherlow & Samarendu Mohanty, 2001. "Cost of the U.S. Sugar Program Revisited, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 01-wp273, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    5. Rude, James & Meilke, Karl D., 2005. "Implications of the July 2004 WTO Framework Agreement for Canadian Agriculture," Commissioned Papers 24159, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
    6. Nordstrom, Hakan, 2001. "Do variable levies beggar thy neighbour?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 403-420, June.
    7. Meilke, Karl D. & Lariviere, Sylvain, 1999. "The Problems And Pitfalls In Modeling International Dairy Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 14579, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    8. Boughner, Devry S. & de Gorter, Harry & Sheldon, Ian M., 2000. "The Economics Of Two-Tier Tariff-Rate Import Quotas In Agriculture," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 29(1), April.
    9. Meilke, Karl D. & Rude, James & Burfisher, Mary E. & Bredahl, Maury E., 2001. "Market Access: Issues And Options In The Agricultural Negotiations," Commissioned Papers 14625, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    10. Cymbal, W. & Veeman, M.M., 1994. "Canadian Agriculture and GATT: An Economic Analysis of Article XI," Project Report Series 232387, University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.
    11. Anonymous & Meilke, Karl D. & Knutson, Ronald D. & Ochoa, Rene F. & Rude, James, 2006. "Achieving NAFTA Plus," 2006 NAAMIC Workshop III: Achieving NAFTA Plus 163871, North American Agrifood Market Integration Consortium (NAAMIC).
    12. Meilke, Karl D. & Huff, Karen, 2001. "Trade Liberalization Under Nafta: Where From Here?," Trade Liberalization Under NAFTA: Report Card on Agriculture; Proceedings of the 6th Agricultural and Food Policy Systems Information Workshop -2000 16819, Farm Foundation, Agricultural and Food Policy Systems Information Workshops.

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