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Reducing agrcultural tariffs versus domestic support : what's more important for developing countries?

  • Hoekman, Bernanrd
  • Ng, Francis
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo

High levels of protection and domestic support for farmers in industrial countries significantly affect many developing countries, both directly and through the price-depressing effect of agricultural support policies. High tariffs--in both rich and poor countries--and domestic support may also lower the world price of agricultural products, benefiting net importers. The authors assess the impact of reducing tariffs and domestic support in a sample of 119 countries. Least developed countries (LDCs) are disproportionately affected by agricultural support policies. More than 18 percent of LDC exports are subject to domestic support in at least one World Trade Organization (WTO) member, as compared to only 9 percent of their imports. For other developing countries the figures are around 4 percent for both their exports and imports. So, the prevailing pattern of trade suggests the world price-reducing effect of agricultural domestic support policies may induce a welfare loss in LDCs. The authors develop a simple partial equilibrium model of global trade in commodities that benefit from domestic support in at least one WTO member. The simulation results suggest there will be large differences between LDCs and other developing economies in terms of the impact of a 50 percent cut in tariffs as compared to a 50 percent cut in domestic support. Developing countries as a group would suffer a welfare loss from a cut in support, while LDCs would experience a small gain. For both groups of countries, tariff reductions by WTO members--including own liberalization--will have a positive effect on welfare. The results show both the importance of focusing on tariffs as well as subsities, and the need for complementary actions to allow a domestic supply response to occur in developing countries if world prices rise

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2918.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2918
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  1. Beghin, John C. & Roland-Holst, David & Van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique, 2002. "How Will Agricultural Trade Reforms in High-Income Countries Affect the Trading Relationships of Developing Countries?," Staff General Research Papers 10665, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Joseph Francois & Ian Wooton, 2000. "Trade in International Transport Services: The Role of Competition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-057/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Hoekman, Bernard, 2002. "Strengthening the global trade architecture for development: the post Doha agenda," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 23-45, March.
  4. Dimaranan, Betina V. & Hertel, Thomas W. & Keeney, Roman, 2003. "OECD Domestic Support and the Developing Countries," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22000, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  5. Arvind Subramanian & Aaditya Mattoo & Devesh Roy, 2002. "The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and its Rules of Origin: Generosity Undermined?," IMF Working Papers 02/158, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Paul Brenton & Miriam Manchin, 2002. "Making EU Trade Agreements Work: The Role of Rules of Origin," International Trade 0203003, EconWPA.
  7. Anderson, Kym & Hoekman, Bernard, 1999. "Developing Country Agriculture and the New Trade Agenda," CEPR Discussion Papers 2096, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Rae, Allan N. & Strutt, Anna, 2003. "The Current Round of Agricultural Trade Negotiations: Should We Bother About Domestic Support?," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 4(2).
  9. Anderson, Kym, 2003. "Trade Liberalization, Agriculture, and Poverty in Low-income Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Joachim Zietz, 1986. "The potential benefits to LDCs of trade liberalization in beef and sugar by industrialized countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 93-112, March.
  11. Hoekman, Bernard & Ng, Francis & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Tariff Peaks in the Quad and Least Developed Country Exports," CEPR Discussion Papers 2747, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Fink, Carsten & Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2001. "Trade in international maritime services : how much does policy matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2522, The World Bank.
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