Agriculture and the New Trade Agenda Creating a Global Trading Environment for Development


An open trading system has long been recognized as an important element of sound economic policy, and trade liberalization as a necessary step for achieving it. Whereas the multilateral process of trade liberalization under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has been successful in opening global trade in manufactures, expanding this process for other sectors, such as agriculture, has proved very difficult to achieve. Difficult questions arise owing to the complexity of the issues and the wide range of interests across countries. In the new round of global trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), different perspectives on agriculture have produced a highly contentious agenda. This book analyzes the key issues, diverse interests, challenges, and options for agricultural trade liberalization in the new trade agenda of the WTO, and their implications for both developed and developing countries.

The book is based on the key findings emerging from a major program of research, policy analyses, and capacity-building on agriculture and the new trade agenda in the WTO. The chapters have been prepared by many of the leading specialists in the fields of agriculture and international trade. Major policy questions addressed in this book include: What are the interests and options in the new WTO trade negotiations in agriculture and the new trade agenda from a development perspective? What new WTO trade rules on agriculture and trade policy reform would provide the largest benefits? Who would be the winners and losers under different rules? What are the agricultural trade interests of developing countries? Would market-opening measures be enough to trigger other needed reforms? What aims should developing countries pursue in tariff negotiations? Is there a danger that agricultural liberalization will create a new example of managed trade, like trade in textiles and clothing? How would farm and food trade be affected if both agricultural and non-agricultural trade barriers were slashed? Does patent protection for agricultural products hurt developing countries? These questions are explored from the viewpoint of developed as well as developing and transition economies.

Part I of the book explores the lessons and experience from the actual implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements on Agriculture (URAA). The research evaluates the experience from actual implementation of selected WTO agreements based on the actual implementation of commitments during 1995-2000, in contrast to previous research based on the negotiated outcome of the Uruguay Round in 1994 (Martin and Winters, 1996). Part I thus sets the stage for the rest the book. Part II explores the diverse interests, options, and objectives in the new trade round. Part III is devoted to the identification and analyses of alternative disciplines and quantitative assessments of future liberalization options. It provides quantitative assessments, not as forecasts, but as analytical views of the options to identify where the biggest gains may occur. Part IV analyzes the new trade agenda and second-generation issues as they affect the agriculture sectors of both developed and developing countries.


Agriculture and the New Trade Agenda Creating a Global Trading Environment for Development

Published 1 January 2004