WTO, AGRICULTURE AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A SURVEY OF ISSUES

The objective of this paper is to present a survey of trade issues in agriculture from the perspective of developing countries. Developing countries are a large percentage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, and agriculture is critical for their economic growth, poverty alleviation, food security, and environmental sustainability. First, this paper identifies trends in production, consumption, and trade of food and agriculture over the last four decades. Some of the significant developments food and agricultural trade is the emergence of oilseeds and fruits and vegetables, which are becoming the main exports from developing countries, replacing traditional exports such as sugar, coffee and cocoa. The trends show also a worsening of developing countries' net trade position due in part to income growth and population pressures, but also to economic policies in general, and trade policies in particular, both in developing and industrialized countries. Second, this paper focuses on some of the main development issues linked to the WTO agricultural negotiations. The objective is to align the different legal components and subcomponents of the negotiations under the Agreement on Agriculture, with developing countries' final objectives of sustainable economic growth, poverty alleviation, and food security. This paper concludes that the problems for developing countries are not mainly legal constraints under the AoA, but the lack of financial and human resources and institutional capabilities. To link negotiations to their development goals, developing countries must consider the issue of funding. Finally, developing countries, most of which have embarked in unilateral liberalization over the last decade, should ask significant down-payments in the reduction of the higher levels of protection and subsidies in industrialized countries.


Issue Date:
2001
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/16278
Total Pages:
69
Series Statement:
TMD Discussion Paper
81




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-24

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