Agricultural Trade Liberalisation: Its Ambiguous Consequences on Developing Countries
Protectionism and public intervention in agriculture by Northern countries is often accused of blocking the development of the South. From this point of view, certain organisations, including the World Bank, argue that multilateral trade liberalisation could be very beneficial. Simulations carried out by the CEPII qualify this view significantly. The data used take into account trade preferences and the recent reforms of agricultural policies. The simulations also account for the fact that commitments made by WTO member states relate to bound customs duties (“ceilings”) and not to duties actually applied. The impact of liberalisation would thus seem to be weaker than is generally estimated. In particular, the data and the methods of calculation used indicate that countries which presently benefit from preferential market access will lose some of their competitive advantage.
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