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Could the proposed WTO Special Safeguard Mechanism protect farmers from low international prices?

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  • Jayanthi Thennakoon
  • Kym Anderson

Abstract

This paper offers an empirical analysis of the proposal by some developing countries for an agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) in the World Trade Organization. It draws on political economy and market theory to demonstrate that the loss-averting domestic producer benefits that proponents believe the SSM would offer agricultural-importing developing countries may be illusory, insofar as agricultural-exporting countries also seek to avert producer losses. By way of illustration, the paper then uses time series data to analyse past government responses to fluctuations in the world's rice markets. The results suggest that the proposed SSM would deliver at most only a small fraction of the loss-averting benefits that have been advertised by the proponents of the SSM. Since the analysis applies to upward as well as downward spikes in international prices, it underscores the importance of strengthening multilateral disciplines on both import and export trade interventions to reduce beggar-thy-neighbor unilateral trade policy responses to food price fluctuations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jayanthi Thennakoon & Kym Anderson, 2014. "Could the proposed WTO Special Safeguard Mechanism protect farmers from low international prices?," Departmental Working Papers 2014-23, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2014-23
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    File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/publications/publish/papers/wp2014/wp_econ_2014_23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hertel, Thomas W. & Martin, William J. & Leister, Amanda M., 2010. "Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the WTO: the Case of Wheat," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61000, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Tyers,Rod & Anderson,Kym, 2011. "Disarray in World Food Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521172318, April.
    3. Hans G. Jensen & Kym Anderson, 2017. "Grain Price Spikes and Beggar-thy-Neighbor Policy Responses: A Global Economywide Analysis," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 158-175.
    4. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring distortions to agricultural incentives, revisited," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(4), pages 675-704, October.
    5. Jason H. Grant & Karl D. Meilke, 2006. "The World Trade Organization Special Safeguard Mechanism: A Case Study of Wheat," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(1), pages 24-47.
    6. Vivi Alatas & Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Benjamin A. Olken & Julia Tobias, 2012. "Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1206-1240, June.
    7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    8. Croser, Johanna & Anderson, Kym, 2011. "Changing contributions of different agricultural policy instruments to global reductions in trade and welfare," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 297-323, July.
    9. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, William J. & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Methodology for Measuring Distortions to Agricultural Incentives," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 48326, World Bank.
    10. Anderson, Kym & Nelgen, Signe, 2012. "Trade Barrier Volatility and Agricultural Price Stabilization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 36-48.
    11. Finger, J. Michael, 2010. "A Special Safeguard Mechanism for Agricultural Imports: what experience with other GATT/WTO safeguards tells us about what might work," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 289-318, April.
    12. Paul J. Gertler & Sebastian W. Martinez & Marta Rubio-Codina, 2012. "Investing Cash Transfers to Raise Long-Term Living Standards," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 164-192, January.
    13. Wolfe, Robert, 2009. "The special safeguard fiasco in the WTO: the perils of inadequate analysis and negotiation," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(4), pages 517-544, October.
    14. Byerlee, Derek & Jayne, T.S. & Myers, Robert J., 2006. "Managing food price risks and instability in a liberalizing market environment: Overview and policy options," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 275-287, August.
    15. Jean, Sebastien & Laborde, David & Martin, Will, 2010. "Formulas and flexibility in trade negotiations : sensitive agricultural products in the WTO's Doha agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5200, The World Bank.
    16. Rutten, Martine & Shutes, Lindsay & Meijerink, Gerdien, 2013. "Sit down at the ball game: How trade barriers make the world less food secure," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-10.
    17. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597.
    18. Thomas W. Hertel & Will Martin & Amanda M. Leister, 2010. "Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the World Trade Organization: the Case of Wheat," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(2), pages 330-359, August.
    19. Caroline Freund & Caglar Ozden, 2008. "Trade Policy and Loss Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1675-1691, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kym Anderson, 2016. "Agricultural Trade, Policy Reforms, and Global Food Security," Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-1-137-46925-0.
    2. Countryman, Amanda M. & Narayanan, Badri G., 2017. "Price volatility, tariff structure and the special safeguard mechanism," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 399-408.
    3. Countryman, Amanda & Ufer, Danielle, 2016. "Potential Poverty Effects of the Special Safeguard Mechanism: the Case of Wheat," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236023, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    WTO safeguards; SSM; food security; rice market volatility;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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