Doha Round Negotiations: Agriculture
83 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2012
Date Written: November 25, 2003
This study examines the Agreement on Agriculture under WTO, issues arising out of its implementation, the process of Doha Round of mandated negotiations, various country/group positions, developing country perspectives and provides suggestions for future negotiations. The Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture has not achieved the extent of liberalization it was supposed to. The heavily subsidized agriculture sectors of most developed countries tend to distort world agricultural trade patterns and adversely affect the developing countries. The Doha Ministerial Declaration had set up guidelines and deadlines for formalizing modalities for the process of negotiations, none of which were met. The last phase of the current negotiations culminated into the Fifth Ministerial Meeting held at Cancun in September 2003, which ended without a Ministerial Declaration. The widely divergent country positions on Agriculture are considered as one of the reasons for the failure of the Fifth Ministerial.
Given the set back at Cancun and the need to make progress on trade liberalization, any prescriptions for further negotiations requires a significant analysis of the positions of different countries/groups. Our analysis shows the support levels to agriculture remains very high in the developed countries and these support levels are distorting world agricultural markets for major commodities. This sets in a chain of adverse effects on the agricultural sector and in turn on the livelihood of a large number of farmers in the developing countries. Continuation of current agricultural policies of the developed countries, therefore, could disturb the political and social equilibrium in the developing countries. There is an urgent need to establish a level playing field through reductions in agricultural support levels in the developed countries in order to ensure realization of benefits of trade liberalization to farmers of the developing countries. For this purpose, a definite time frame needs to be established for effecting major policy reforms to reduce the agricultural support levels. Elimination of export subsidies and blue box support, substantial reduction in amber box subsidies and limiting green box subsidies within the next five years will enable achieving level playing field and encourage developing countries to effectively engage in the ongoing negotiations.
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