Triggers, Remedies and Tariff Cuts: Assessing the Impact of a Special Safeguard Mechanism for Developing Countries
On July 30, 2008, the WTO negotiations broke down because Members could not bridge their differences on the operation of a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for low-income countries. This study evaluates two scenarios concerning the recent July (2008) SSM proposal – one in which low-income countries are allowed to breach their pre-Doha bound tariffs and one in which they are not -- using a global, stochastic, partial equilibrium model of world wheat markets. We find that the July (2008) SSM proposal is not very trade distorting despite leading to sizeable SSM duties. Moreover, the question of whether developing countries should be allowed to exceed their pre-Doha bound tariffs depends heavily on the product under consideration, the extent of tariff cuts to bound rates, and the gap between a Members bound and applied tariffs, particularly when the volume-based SSM remedies are used
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