Economic Theory & Research; Free Trade; Trade Policy; World Trade Organization; Trade and Regional Integration
The World Region
Summary: Agriculture is yet again causing contention in international trade negotiations. It caused long delays to the Uruguay Round in the late 1980s and 1990s, and it is again proving to be the major stumbling block in the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations (formally known as the Doha Development Agenda, or DDA). It is ironic that agricultural policy is so contentious, given its small and declining importance in the global economy. The question arises on why so much "ado" about agriculture: because policies affecting this declining sector are so politically sensitive, there are always self-interested groups suggesting it be sidelined in trade negotiations-as indeed it has been in numerous sub-global preferential trading agreements, and was in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) prior to the Uruguay Round. To answer some questions, this book first sets the scene (Part I) for presenting the issues on agriculture, trade reform, and the Doha Agenda, seeking to identify what is it at stake, namely, the relative importance of import barriers, export subsidies, and domestic support, including the special and differential treatment for developing countries. Part II looks at the agricultural market access, examining the impact of agricultural tariffs, and of tariff cuts through alternative formulas, on reducing tariffs vs. expanding tariff rate quotas, to then focus on the serious concern of erosion of tariff preferences. The third part concentrates on export subsidies and the domestic support, prioritizing on the removal of the agricultural export subsidies' exception, while taking a new look at agricultural domestic support under the World Trade Organization, and, at the consequences of reducing limits on aggregate measurement of support. Finally, the book provides (Part IV) the Doha reform scenarios, with an in-depth look at the market and welfare implications of the Doha reform.
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