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Africa's role in multilateral trade negotiations, Volume 1
Author:Zhen Kun Wang; Winters, L. Alan; Country:Africa;
Date Stored:2001/05/14Document Date:1997/11/30
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Economic Theory & Research; Export Competitiveness; Agribusiness & Markets; Trade Policy; Free Trade; Environmental Economics & Policies
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:(Historic)Economic Policy
Region:AfricaReport Number:WPS1846
Sub Sectors:TradeCollection Title:Policy, Research working paper ; no. WPS 1846
Volume No:1  

Summary: Openness and liberal trade policies are associated with higher exports and economic growth. Sub-Saharan African countries are mostly still relatively closed, and one of their top priorities should be to open up. With some important, identifiable, exceptions African exports are not disproportionately restricted in OECD markets. Because of Sub-Saharan Africa's small economic size and because its decline in competitiveness has been spread over nearly all sectors, improvements in its performance should not unduly disturb other members of the world economy and should not encounter major resistance among trading partners. Sub-Saharan African countries won fewer concessions on their exports in the Uruguay Round than did other developing countries -possibly because they offered fewer concessions on imports. Nonetheless, because they started the Round with more favorable treatment, they still emerged from it facing fewer or lower restrictions than other developing countries. In the next Round of trade negotiations, Sub-Saharan countries have some "rights" to negotiate (according to the GATT/WTO "principal suppliers" traditions) and a little leverage. They should be active in this Round, both giving and requesting concessions, and economists should help them prepare the ground. Trade preferences are not the route to integrating with the world economy. In terms of access to partners' markets, trade preferences are no substitute for bound most-favored-nation tariff reductions, and they also encourage shortsighted and distortionary behavior within the recipients' economy. Africa should focus its negotiating efforts on most-favored-nation reductions rather than trade preferences.

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