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The Utilisation of Trade Preferences for Developing Countries in the Agri-food Sector

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  • Jean-Christophe Bureau
  • Raja Chakir
  • Jacques Gallezot

Abstract

Both the European Union and the United States grant non-reciprocal preferences to developing countries under the Generalised System of Preferences as well as under several regional schemes. The benefits of these preferences have recently been questioned. Several authors have pointed out the under-utilisation of these preferences due to the constraints attached. There have been claims that rules of origin requirements and administrative costs, as well as uncertainty on eventual eligibility, have deterred exporters from using preferential regimes. We calculate various indicators of the utilisation of preferences in the agricultural, food and fisheries sector. We conclude that only a very small proportion of the imports eligible for these preferences is actually exported outside a preferential regime. The rate of utilisation is therefore high. However, the flow of imports from the poorest countries remains very limited in spite of rather generous tariff preferences, which leads to questions over the overall impact of the preferential agreements. In addition, preferential regimes overlap, and in such cases some regimes are systematically preferred to others. We use econometric estimates of the (latent) cost of using a given preference to explain why particular regimes are used. We focus on possible explanations, such as the cumulation rules (that restrict the use of materials originating from other countries), fixed administrative costs and differences in the preferential margin. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Christophe Bureau & Raja Chakir & Jacques Gallezot, 2007. "The Utilisation of Trade Preferences for Developing Countries in the Agri-food Sector," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 175-198, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:58:y:2007:i:2:p:175-198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. M. Ataman Aksoy & John C. Beghin, 2005. "Global Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7464.
    2. S¯ren E. Frandsen & Hans G. Jensen & Wusheng Yu & Aage Walter-J¯rgensen, 2003. "Reform of EU sugar policy: price cuts versus quota reductions," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, pages 1-26.
    3. John C. Beghin & Barbara El Osta & Jay R. Cherlow & Samarendu Mohanty, 2003. "The Cost Of The U.S. Sugar Program Revisited," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 106-116, January.
    4. Mitchell, Donald, 2004. "Sugar policies opportunity for change," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3222, The World Bank.
    5. Babcock, Bruce A. & Beghin, John C. & Fuller, Frank H. & Mohanty, Samarendu & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Kaus, Phillip J. & Fang, Cheng & Hart, Chad E. & Matthey, Holger & de Cara, Stephane & Kovarik, Kare, 2001. "FAPRI 2001 U.S. and World Agricultural Outlook," Staff Reports 32052, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI).
    6. Aksoy, M. Ataman & Beghin, John C., 2005. "Global Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12228, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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