AGRICULTURE, TRADE REFORM AND POVERTY REDUCTION: IMPLICATIONS FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
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AGRICULTURE, TRADE REFORM AND POVERTY REDUCTION: IMPLICATIONS FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

 

ABSTRACT

The WTO Ministerial Declaration at Doha in November 2001 places considerable emphasis on development (WTO, 2001b), although the outcome is not guaranteed. Many developing countries – particularly in Africa – are skeptical that they will receive sufficient gains from that MTN to warrant the inevitable costs of negotiations and adjustments. These countries and some donors also still need to be convinced that such trade reform will alleviate rather than add to poverty and food insecurity in developing countries. Some are concerned about the loss of trade preferences as developed countries’ MFN tariffs are reduced. Net food-importing countries are especially worried that they will be made worse off by having to pay a higher food import bill following agricultural trade reform. Trade policy does not deal with income distribution issues, because in virtually all countries they can be handled more efficiently by more direct policy measures (Corden, 1997, Ch. 4). Nonetheless, it is important to be aware of the distributional consequences of trade (and other) policy changes and to check that measures are in place or, are introduced to deal effectively with any vulnerable groups who may be made worse off by those trade reforms abroad and/or at home.

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