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Implications of the Doha market access proposals for developing countries

  • Laborde, David
  • Martin, Will
  • van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique

This paper uses detailed data on bound and applied tariffs to assess the consequences of the World Trade Organization’s December 2008 Modalities for tariffs levied and faced by developing countries, and the welfare implications of these reforms. The authors find that the tiered formula for agriculture would halve tariffs in industrial countries and lower them more modestly in developing countries. In non-agriculture, the formulas would reduce the tariff peaks facing developing countries and cut average industrial country tariffs by more than a third. The authors use a political-economy framework to assess the implications of flexibilities for the size of the tariff cuts and find they are likely to substantially reduce the outcome. However, despite the flexibilities, there are likely to be worthwhile gains, with applied tariffs facing developing countries cut by about 20 percent in agriculture and 27 percent in non-agriculture, and sizeable cuts in tariffs facing industrial countries. The welfare impacts of reform are evaluated using a new approach to aggregation that improves on the traditional, flawed approach of weighted-average tariffs. This substantially increases the estimated benefits of an agreement along the lines of these modalities, with estimated global income gains of up to $160 billion per year from market access reform.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5679.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5679
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  1. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2006. "Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6889.
  2. Bouet, Antoine & Laborde, David, 2010. "Eight Years of Doha Trade Talks: Where Do We Stand?," eJADE: electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization, Agricultural and Development Economics Division, vol. 11(2).
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