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The International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council  (IPC) presents:

Achieving the Doha Development Agenda

Seminar One

13 June, 2002

Centre William Rappard
Geneva Switzerland

Export Competition and Market Access

Seminar Two Seminar Three Seminar Series Proceedings


9:00 - 10:30



Opening Remarks:    Dale Hathaway

In the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, the United States and the European Union played the leading roles, with developing countries (outside of the Cairns Group) participating on the sidelines. The final agreement was essentially brokered between the United States and the European Union in the so-called "Blair House Agreement." Developing country concerns were, for the most part, addressed under the rubric of Special and Differential Treatment. In the intervening years, it has become apparent that if developing countries are to benefit from the global food and agricultural trade system, their needs and interests must be integrated into the entire agricultural trade agreement. In what ways does the Uruguay Round Agreement need to be improved to meet the needs of the developing countries? What would constitute a success for developing countries in the Doha Round?


11:00 - 12:30  


Opening Remarks:   Joe O'Mara, Rolf Moehler

In the Uruguay Round, export competition was defined fairly narrowly, focusing almost exclusively on EU and US export subsidies. In the Doha Round, the issue of export competition has been defined more broadly to include export credits, food aid, state trading exporters, and export taxes and embargoes. The ramification of export subsidies is fairly clear-cut for most developing countries. But, the implications of export credits, food aid, export taxes, export embargoes, and exporting state trading entities is more complicated. What are the available options for modalities and rules to govern export competition? What are the various proposals for addressing export competition? What is the impact of various proposals for developing countries?

14:00 - 15:30


Opening Remarks:    Mike Gifford, Rolf Moehler

Market access issues were also defined fairly narrowly in the Uruguay Round Agreement. Product aggregation and tariffication formulas limited developing countries’ access to developed country markets. Special and differential treatment allowed developing countries additional time to reduce tariffs and did not require duty free market access. What type of formula should be used to expand market access, and address tariff-escalation and tariff peaks. How should tariff-rate quota regimes be addressed? There are also proposals to allow developing countries to impose higher tariffs on subsistence crops to address food security concerns, or simply to allow their agricultural sectors more time to adjust to open markets. Other proposals include enhancing the use of special safeguards to deal with import surges. How do these debates affect developing country interests? What modalities and rule changes are needed to improve the Uruguay Round Agreement for developing countries? How will the existing proposals on market access affect developing countries interests? What are the pros and cons of retaining Special and Differential Treatment and Special Preferences in place?

16:00 - 17:00


Opening Remarks:      Dale Hathaway

In the Doha Round, negotiations on the modalities will be inter-related. Reductions in import duties in developing countries will be linked to reductions in domestic supports and export subsidies in developed countries, as well as to protection for subsistence farmers and their crops. Reductions of developed country tariffs and enhanced market access will be linked to special trade preferences. Developed countries will link rural development to domestic supports, and food security to export taxes. Yet, developing countries’ appreciation of these linkages (for example the concepts of food security or rural development) is vastly different from the understanding in developed countries. How will these linkages between pillars affect the outcome of the negotiations? How can the concerns of developed and developing countries be addressed in ways that encourage and enhance global trade liberalization?

17:00 - 18:00


Remarks:   Robert L. Thompson, IPC Chairman

Agricultural trade policies, both in developed and in developing countries, have a powerful effect on agriculture in developing countries. Developed country policies continue to deny developing countries access to markets for agricultural products. Yet, when market access is provided, developing countries may not be able to take advantage of it because of inadequate infrastructure or because of stringent phytosanitary requirements. High tariffs between developing countries inhibit the development of strong regional markets, yet lower tariffs may subject subsistence farmers to fierce competition. Developed country export subsidies and export credits lower world market prices, hurting farmers in developing countries, while enabling net food importers enjoy lower food import bills. Preferential tariff treatment creates markets in the short-run for developing country exporters, but in the long run may leave a country dependent on a single commodity. Most politicians and economists agree that trade can be a powerful engine of growth for developing countries, if developing countries’ concerns are adequately addressed.

IPC Panel Participants

Mike Gifford, Former Chief Agricultural Trade Negotiator, Canada.

Dale Hathaway, Former Undersecretary, International Trade and Commodity Programs, USA.

Rolf Moehler, Former Deputy Director General, Agriculture, European Union.

Joe O'Mara, Former Special Agricultural Trade Negotiator, USA.

Robert L. Thompson, Senior Advisor, Agricultural Trade Policy, World Bank.