IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/wotrrv/v8y2009i04p517-544_99.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The special safeguard fiasco in the WTO: the perils of inadequate analysis and negotiation

Author

Listed:
  • WOLFE, ROBERT

Abstract

The July 2008 attempt by a group of ministers to agree on modalities for the WTO's Doha Round broke down in part because they could not agree on a proposed ‘Special Safeguard Mechanism’ (SSM) for developing countries in agriculture. This paper offers a corrective to the conventional story that the breakdown was due to a simple conflict of interests over the SSM between the United States and India. The term SSM was first used in a Doha Round text in 2004, but neither the principles nor the commercial implications had ever been discussed by ministers before July 2008. The conceptual origins of the SSM go back to proposals in the late 1990s for a ‘Development Box’, but by the time of the ministerial, negotiators had been unable to agree on the purpose of the safeguard, or how it would work, including the agricultural products it would cover, how it would be triggered, the remedies (additional tariffs) allowed, or the transparency requirements for its operation. The SSM was therefore one of the least ‘stabilized’ parts of the text placed before ministers in July 2008. Members were far from reaching a consensual understanding of the SSM, which resulted in a fiasco that might have been avoided. Ministers should not have been asked to engage in a poorly prepared discussion of a sensitive issue, because inevitably they staked out incompatible positions. Members may subsequently find it difficult to back down.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfe, Robert, 2009. "The special safeguard fiasco in the WTO: the perils of inadequate analysis and negotiation," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(4), pages 517-544, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:wotrrv:v:8:y:2009:i:04:p:517-544_99
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S1474745609990048/type/journal_article
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Thennakoon, Jayanthi & Anderson, Kym, 2015. "Could the proposed WTO Special Safeguard Mechanism protect farmers from low international prices?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 106-113.
    2. Donald MacLaren, 2016. "The Contingent Tariff of the Special Safeguard Mechanism: What Happens When Markets are Imperfectly Competitive?," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 62-83, February.
    3. Rorden Wilkinson & Erin Hannah & James Scott, 2016. "The WTO in Nairobi: The Demise of the Doha Development Agenda and the Future of the Multilateral Trading System," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 7(2), pages 247-255, May.
    4. Kym Anderson, 2016. "Agricultural Trade, Policy Reforms, and Global Food Security," Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-1-137-46925-0.
    5. Patrick Messerlin, 2010. "The Doha Round," Working Papers hal-00972939, HAL.
    6. Mark Langan & James Scott, 2011. "The false promise of Aid for Trade," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 16011, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    7. Jayanthi Thennakoon, 2015. "Political Economy of Altering Trade Restrictions in Response to Commodity Price Spikes," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 434-447, May.
    8. Donald MacLaren, 2014. "The Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) and Tariffs: Price Behaviour with Imperfectly Competitive Market Intermediaries," CESifo Working Paper Series 4585, CESifo.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:wotrrv:v:8:y:2009:i:04:p:517-544_99. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: https://www.cambridge.org/wtr .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.