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Agricultural Products Modalities

Research reports

Written by Sheila Page

The objective of this Negotiation Policy Brief is to provide developing countries and least developed countries, particularly those in Africa, with information, independent policy analysis and operative suggestions relating to the establishment of modalities
for negotiations on agricultural products within the framework of the World Trade Organization Doha Development Agenda negotiations. The brief is intended to inform and assist decision-makers and delegates in the formulation of
their policy and negotiation positions through integrated economic and tactical analysis with a view to promoting the achievement of developing country goals. Generally stated, developing country goals in the agricultural negotiations are to strengthen rules and specific commitments on support and protection and to address distortions in agricultural markets, while retaining appropriate measures of protection for their own developing economies.

It is important that the agricultural modalities be designed in a manner that conforms to the goals of developing countries in the agricultural negotiations. In the following section, these goals are presented; subsequently, a general assessment of the draft
modalities and their consistency with these goals is provided. Then, detailed analyses of the main agricultural modalities negotiating items are set out, with practical reference to a number of developing African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda). The report focuses on the impact of the Harbinson modalities on tariff reductions and market access with particular reference to preference erosion. The report also examines the proposals for special and differential treatment and develops criteria for determining ‘special products’. Finally, the paper examines the broad impact of changes in domestic support and export subsidies proposed under the Harbinson text.

Sheila Page