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Sensitive products in the Doha negotiations: The case of European and Japanese market access

  • Gouel, Christophe
  • Mitaritonna, Cristina
  • Ramos, Maria Priscila

Given the highly concentrated distribution of agricultural protection, allowing in the negotiations too many exceptions through sensitive products puts at risk the objectives of World Trade Organization. This issue is difficult to analyze with the commonly used applied trade models, because they represent trade flows at an aggregate level, while sensitive products are picked at the product level and their protection, under the form of tariff-rate quotas, is contingent on the level of imports. This paper assesses the effect of these exceptions, based on the case of agricultural trade protection in Europe and Japan, two countries where tariff dismantling in the agricultural sector is a particularly sensitive issue. Since agricultural border protection is heterogeneous, we avoid aggregation bias by extending a multi-country computable general equilibrium model to the product level. This allows us to represent trade policies explicitly and to account for their interdependencies. The results suggest that consideration of sensitive products strongly limits the potential gains from a possible agriculture agreement at Doha. Moreover, there is no aggregate trade-off between decreasing tariffs and increasing/opening quotas. To achieve “substantial” market access improvements in the agricultural sector, the objective should be most favored nation tariff reduction.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

Volume (Year): 28 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 2395-2403

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:28:y:2011:i:6:p:2395-2403
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