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Production uncertainty and trade policy commitment

  • Jean-Philippe Gervais

Agricultural markets are characterized by production and marketing lags. Uncertainty is also an inherent feature of agricultural markets. This paper investigates if two policy active importers will choose to commit to their import levels or keep the flexibility to revise their ex-ante import levels once production decisions are made and the uncertainty is resolved. This is the constant dilemma faced by prospective WTO members. We assume production in both importing countries is subject to an asymmetric random shock. We show that a government will not want to commit to its import level when there is a high degree of uncertainty in production. However, an importing country is likely to commit to a trade policy in equilibrium although the equilibrium may be Pareto dominated. Under certain conditions, an equilibrium in which one country commits to its ex-ante import level while the other chooses the flexibility option can emerge. In this setting, international trade agreements play an important role.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development.

Volume (Year): 10 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-21

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:1-21
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