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Agricultural Trade Reform and Poverty in the Asia-Pacific: A Survey and Some New Results


  • John Gilbert


We review the literature on the relationship between agricultural trade policy reform and poverty, and the results of recent detailed simulation studies applied to economies in the ESCAP region. We then use the GTAP model to evaluate the possible impacts of the most recently proposed modality for agricultural trade reform under Doha on the economies of the ESCAP region. We compare the results to a benchmark of comprehensive agricultural trade reform. We find that the current proposal does not result in significant cuts to applied tariffs, and has very modest overall effects on welfare. Poverty in the region would decrease overall, but the distribution across countries is uneven. By contrast, comprehensive agricultural trade reform, with developing economies fully engaged, tends to benefit most economies in the region in the aggregate, and to consistently lower poverty.

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  • John Gilbert, "undated". "Agricultural Trade Reform and Poverty in the Asia-Pacific: A Survey and Some New Results," MPDD Working Paper Series WP/08/01, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:wpmpdd:wp/08/01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas W. Hertel & Jeffrey J. Reimer, 2006. "Predicting the Poverty Impacts of Trade Reform," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 2, May.
    2. Cororaton, Caesar B. & Cockburn, John & Corong, Erwin, 2005. "Doha scenarios, trade reforms, and poverty in the Philippines," MTID discussion papers 86, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Peter J. Lloyd & Donald Maclaren, 2004. "Gains and Losses from Regional Trading Agreements: A Survey," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(251), pages 445-467, December.
    4. Sandra Polaski et al, 2008. "Policy dilemmas in India: The Impact of changes in agricultural prices on rural and urban poverty," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-012, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    5. Joseph Francois & Bernard Hoekman & Miriam Manchin, 2006. "Preference Erosion and Multilateral Trade Liberalization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 197-216.
    6. John Gilbert, 2009. "Agricultural Trade Reform Under Doha and Poverty in India," Working Papers 200903, Utah State University, Department of Economics and Finance, revised 28 Jun 2009.
    7. L. ALAN WINTERS & NEIL McCULLOCH & ANDREW McKAY, 2015. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence So Far," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Non-Tariff Barriers, Regionalism and Poverty Essays in Applied International Trade Analysis, chapter 14, pages 271-314 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Hertel, Thomas & Hummels, David & Ivanic, Maros & Keeney, Roman, 2007. "How confident can we be of CGE-based assessments of Free Trade Agreements?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 611-635, July.
    9. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared since the Early 1980s?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 141-169.
    10. John Gilbert & Thomas Wahl, 2002. "Applied General Equilibrium Assessments of Trade Libereralisation in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5), pages 697-731, May.
    11. Robinson, Sherman & Thierfelder, Karen, 2002. "Trade liberalisation and regional integration: the search for large numbers," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 46(4), December.
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    13. Kuiper, Marijke & van Tongeren, Frank, 2005. "Growing together or growing apart ? a village level study of the impact of the Doha Round on rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3696, The World Bank.
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    15. Linh, Pham Thi Ngoc & Burton, Michael P. & Vanzetti, David, 2008. "The welfare of small livestock producers in Vietnam under trade liberalisation-- Integration of trade and household models," 2008 Conference (52nd), February 5-8, 2008, Canberra, Australia 6023, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    16. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
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    18. Annabi, Nabil & Khondker, Bazlul & Raihan, Selim & Cockburn, John & Decaluwe, Bernard, 2006. "Implications of WTO agreements and unilateral trade policy reforms for poverty in Bangladesh : short versus long-run impacts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3976, The World Bank.
    19. Thomas W. Hertel & L. Alan Winters, 2005. "Estimating the Poverty Impacts of a Prospective Doha Development Agenda," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(8), pages 1057-1071, August.
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    21. L. Alan Winters, 2002. "Trade Liberalisation and Poverty: What are the Links?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(9), pages 1339-1367, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Gilbert & Nilanjan Banik, 2012. "Socio-economic impacts of regional transport infrastructure in South Asia," Chapters,in: Infrastructure for Asian Connectivity, chapter 5, pages 139-163 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. John Gilbert, 2009. "Agricultural Trade Reform Under Doha and Poverty in India," Working Papers 2009-03, Utah State University, Department of Economics, revised 28 Jun 2009.
    3. John Gilbert, 2008. "BIMSTEC-Japan Trade Cooperation and Poverty in Asia," Working Papers 2008-03, Utah State University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Dec 2008.
    4. John Gilbert, 2011. "Trade reforms under Doha and income distribution in South Asia," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT,in: Trade-led growth: A sound strategy for Asia, chapter 12 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    5. Acharya, Sanjaya & Hölscher, Jens & Perugini, Cristiano, 2012. "Trade liberalisation and inequalities in Nepal: A CGE analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2543-2557.

    More about this item


    Agricultural trade; Doha; Asia-Pacific; Poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East


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