The consequences of agricultural trade liberalization for developing countries: distinguishing between genuine benefits and false hopes
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 May 2006
Recent analyses suggest that the impact of agricultural trade liberalization on developing countries will be very uneven. The Doha Round focuses on tariff issues, but some developing countries currently have practically duty-free access to European and North American markets under preferential regimes. Multilateral liberalization will erode the benefits of these preferences, which are presently rather well utilized in the agricultural sector. While South American and East Asian countries should benefit from an agricultural agreement, African and Caribbean countries are unlikely to do so. The main obstacles to the exports of the sub-Saharan African and Least Developed Countries appear to be in the non-tariff area (sanitary, phytosanitary standards), which increasingly originate from the private sector and are not dealt with under the Doha framework (traceability requirements, etc.). An agreement in Doha is unlikely to solve these problems and open large markets for the poorest countries. While this is not an argument to give up multilateral liberalization, a more specific and differentiated treatment should be considered in WTO rules, and corrective measures should be implemented.
- Research Article
- World Trade Review , Volume 5 , Issue 2 , July 2006 , pp. 225 - 249
- © Jean-Christophe Bureau, Sébastien Jean and Alan Matthews