A quantitative analysis of trade policy responses to higher world agricultural commodity prices
The worldwide spike in prices of agricultural commodities in 2007-2008 elevated food security and social stability issues to the forefront, especially in many food-deficit countries. In order to mitigate the global food commodity price pressure on domestic markets, several major exporting and importing countries, mostly developing economies, adopted trade policy changes such as export bans (or raising export restrictions) or reducing import tariffs during the same period. This paper estimates the potential impacts of these policies on the world prices and trade of major agricultural commodities using a set of multi-country, multi-commodity, and partial-equilibrium models. Our findings suggest that over all, the trade policy responses in various countries increased the prices of all agricultural commodities, although the impact on the total net trade varies by commodity. The simulation results show that the overall impact of trade policy distortions on the world rice price is most significant at 24%, followed by wheat (14%) and barley (9%). In general, the poorer food-deficit countries/regions, which have limited power to manipulate their trade policies, experienced higher price increases compared to those major trading countries that adopted policy interventions. Also, the developing countries that are net importers which did not implement trade policy interventions experienced significant welfare losses resulting from interventions implemented by other major trading countries.
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