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Market access advances and retreats : the Uruguay Round and beyond

Listed author(s):
  • Finger, J. Michael
  • Schuknecht, Ludger

In the Uruguay Round negotiations, trade distorting agricultural policies were taken up substantively for the first time in any round of multi-lateral trade negotiations. Voluntary export restraints outside the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) were in fact eliminated. Developing countries became equal partners with developed countries. Their tariff cuts covered as large a share of imports as those of the developed countries and were deeper. Because developing country tariffs were higher to start with, their cuts will save importers more (perdollar of imports covered) than will cuts by developed countries. Tariff bindings for most developing countries, although often above applied rates, were extended to 90 percent or more of imports. Few countries agreed to give foreigners unlimited market access in services, or full national treatment in more than a few service activities. But developed countries agreed to some liberalization of cross-border provision for 70 percent of service activities (compared with 25 percent in developing countries). Less positively, although trade restrictions on agricultural products were converted to tariffs, border protection was reduced less on agricultural than on industrial products, and there was little agreement on reducing trade-affecting subsidies. The textiles and clothing agreement binds developed countries to eliminate all MFA-sanctioned restriction but allows them to largely put off doing so until 2005. Concessions to which developing countries agreed are due now. Reciprocal concessions of particular interest are due in the future (elimination of the MFA) or yet to be negotiated (liberalization of agricultural trade). Also disquieting, since the Uruguay Round, developing countries have undertaken anti-dumping cases at a rate (per dollar of imports) three times higher than that for the United States--mostly against other developing countries.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2232.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 1999
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2232
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  1. Robert Staiger & Frank Wolak, 1994. "Measuring Industry Specific Protection: Antidumping in the United States," International Trade 9410004, EconWPA.
  2. Mattoo, Aaditya & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2000. "Trade polices for electronic commerce," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2380, The World Bank.
  3. J. Michael Finger & Ann Harrison, 1996. "The MFA Paradox: More Protection and More Trade?," NBER Chapters,in: The Political Economy of American Trade Policy, pages 197-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin, W. & Winters, L.A., 1995. "The Uruguay Round and the Developing Countries," World Bank - Discussion Papers 307, World Bank.
  5. Bacchetta, Marc & Low, Patrick & Mattoo, Aaditya & Schuknecht, Ludger & Wager, Hannu & Wehrens, Madelon, 1998. "Electronic commerce and the role of the WTO," WTO Special Studies, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division, volume 2, number 2.
  6. Zdouc, Werner, 1999. "WTO Dispute Settlement Practice Relating to the GATS," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 295-346, June.
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