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More Differentiated Special Treatment in the Agriculture Agreement: beyond concept to practice


  • Alan Matthews


This paper examines how more differentiated special treatment of developing countries might be introduced into the WTO agriculture agreement following the Doha Round negotiations. The purpose of special treatment is to facilitate developing countries to meet their food security, rural development and livelihoods concerns. The paper first reviews previous attempts to classify developing countries into foodinsecure and food-secure groups. It argues that such a classification is mainly relevant in the market access pillar of the negotiations, as other criteria for differentiation are implicit in the July 2004 Framework Agreement proposals for the domestic support and export competition pillars. The prospects for an overall agreement are limited unless developed countries feel that they have gained improved access to the markets of the more advanced and competitive agricultural exporters among developing countries. The paper argues that the latter countries might be persuaded to accept shallower SDT if it is the condition for a significant market-opening offer by developed countries. In addition, the developed countries need to build support among low-income developing countries for differentiation by making clear what a more generous SDT offer to food-insecure developing countries not currently classified as LDCs would mean.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Matthews, 2006. "More Differentiated Special Treatment in the Agriculture Agreement: beyond concept to practice," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp108, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp108
    Note: WTO agricultural negotiations, special and differential treatment, differentiation

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan Matthews, 2005. "Special and Differential Treatment in the WTO Agricultural Negotiations," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp061, IIIS.
    2. Alan Matthews, 2005. "The road from Doha to Hong Kong in the WTO agricultural negotiations: a developing country perspective," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 32(4), pages 561-574, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Matthews & Hannah Chaplin & Thomas Giblin & Marian Mraz, 2007. "Strengthening Policy Coherence for Development in Agricultural Policy: Policy Recommendations to Irish Aid," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp188, IIIS.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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