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Potential implications of a special safeguard mechanism in the WTO : the case of wheat


  • Hertel, Thomas W.
  • Martin, Will
  • Leister, Amanda M.


The Special Safeguard Mechanism was a key issue in the July 2008 failure to reach agreement in the World Trade Organization negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda. It includes both price and quantity-triggered measures. This paper uses a stochastic simulation model of the world wheat market to investigate the effects of policy makers implementing policies based on the Special Safeguard Mechanism rules. As expected, implementation of the quantity-triggered measures is found to reduce imports, raise domestic prices, and boost mean domestic production in the Special Safeguard Mechanism regions. However, rather than insulating countries that use it from price volatility, it would actually increase domestic price volatility in developing countries, largely by restricting imports when domestic output is low and prices high. This paper estimates that implementation of the quantity-triggered measures would shrink average wheat imports by nearly 50 percent in some regions, with world wheat trade falling by 4.7 percent. The price measures discriminate against low price exporters -- many of whom are developing countries -- and tend to increase producer price instability.

Suggested Citation

  • Hertel, Thomas W. & Martin, Will & Leister, Amanda M., 2010. "Potential implications of a special safeguard mechanism in the WTO : the case of wheat," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5334, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5334

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Keeney, Roman & Thomas Hertel, 2005. "GTAP-AGR : A Framework for Assessing the Implications of Multilateral Changes in Agricultural Policies," GTAP Technical Papers 1869, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
    3. DeVuyst, Eric A. & Preckel, Paul V., 1997. "Sensitivity analysis revisited: A quadrature-based approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 175-185, April.
    4. Martin, Will & Alston, Julian M, 1997. "Producer Surplus without Apology? Evaluating Investments in R&D," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(221), pages 146-158, June.
    5. Grant, Jason H. & Meilke, Karl D., 2009. "Triggers, Remedies, and Tariff Cuts: Assessing the Impact of a Special Safeguard Mechanism for Developing Countries," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 10(1).
    6. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, 2005. "Special Agricultural Safeguards; Virtual Benefits and Real Costs—Lessons for the Doha Round," IMF Working Papers 05/131, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Finger, J. Michael, 2009. "A special safeguard mechanism for agricultural imports and the management of reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4927, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maros Ivanic & Will Martin, 2014. "Poverty impacts of the volume-based special safeguard mechanism," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 58(4), pages 607-621, October.
    2. Karapinar, Baris & Tanaka, Tetsuji, 2013. "How to Improve World Food Supply Stability Under Future Uncertainty: Potential Role of WTO Regulation on Export Restrictions in Rice," 135th Seminar, August 28-30, 2013, Belgrade, Serbia 160387, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. 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.

    More about this item


    Markets and Market Access; Climate Change Economics; Emerging Markets; Access to Markets; Trade Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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