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Formulas and flexibility in trade negotiations : sensitive agricultural products in the WTO's Doha agenda

Author

Listed:
  • Jean, Sebastien
  • Laborde, David
  • Martin, Will

Abstract

Many trade negotiations involve large cuts in high tariffs, with flexibilities allowing much smaller cuts for an agreed number of politically-sensitive products. The effects of these flexibilities on market access opportunities are difficult to predict, creating particular problems for developing countries in assessing whether to support a proposed agreement. Some widely-used ad hoc approaches to identifying likely sensitive products -- such as the highest-bound-tariff rule -- suggest that the impacts of a limited number of such exceptions on average tariffs and on market access are likely to be minor. This paper uses a rigorous specification based on the apparent objectives of policy makers in setting the pre-negotiation tariff. Applying this approach with detailed data allows the authors to assess the implications of sensitive-product provisions for average agricultural tariffs, economic welfare, and market access under the Doha negotiations. The authors conclude that highest-tariff rules are likely to seriously underestimate the impacts on average tariffs, and that treating even 2 percent of tariff lines as sensitive is likely to have a sharply adverse impact on economic welfare. The impacts on market access are also adverse, but much smaller, perhaps reflecting the mercantilist focus of the negotiating process.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5200
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gouel, Christophe & Mitaritonna, Cristina & Ramos, Maria Priscila, 2011. "Sensitive products in the Doha negotiations: The case of European and Japanese market access," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 2395-2403.
    2. Hoekman, Bernard & Martin, Will & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2010. "Conclude Doha: it matters!," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 505-530, July.
    3. Burrell, Alison M. & Ferrari, Emanuele & Mallado, Aida Gonzalez & Michalek, Jerzy, 2012. "EU market access for agricultural products in the Doha Development Round: A sensitive issue," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126950, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Listorti, Giulia & Kempen, Markus & Girardin, Jean & Kranzlein, Tim, 2011. "Do Price Uncertainties Affect the Use of Policy Flexibilities? The Selection of Sensitive Products in WTO Agricultural Negotiations," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114381, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Kym Anderson & Signe Nelgen, 2012. "Agricultural trade distortions during the global financial crisis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 235-260, SUMMER.
    6. Thennakoon, Jayanthi & Anderson, Kym, 2015. "Could the proposed WTO Special Safeguard Mechanism protect farmers from low international prices?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 106-113.
    7. Badri Narayanan, G. & Khorana, Sangeetha, 2014. "Tariff escalation, export shares and economy-wide welfare: A computable general equilibrium approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 109-118.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Free Trade; International Trade and Trade Rules; Markets and Market Access; Debt Markets; Trade Policy;

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