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The Road Ahead: Agricultural Policy Reform in the WTO--Summary Report

by Mary E. Burfisher, Xishen Diao, Aziz Elbehri , Mark Gehlhar, Paul Gibson, Susan Leetmaa, Lorraine Mitchell, Frederick J. Nelson, R. Wesley Nimon, Mary Anne Normile, Terry Roe, Shahla Shapouri, David W. Skully, Mark Smith, and Agapi Somwaru

Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-797) 32 pp, January 2001

Agricultural trade barriers and producer subsidies inflict real costs, both on the countries that use these policies and on their trade partners. Trade barriers lower demand for trade partners’ products, domestic subsidies can induce an oversupply of agricultural products which depresses world prices, and export subsidies create increased competition for producers in other countries. Eliminating global agricultural policy distortions would result in an annual world welfare gain of $56 billion. High protection for agricultural commodities in the form of tariffs continues to be the major factor restricting world trade. In 2000, World Trade Organization (WTO) members continued global negotiations on agricultural policy reform. To help policymakers and others realize what is at stake in the global agricultural negotiations, this report quantifies the costs of global agricultural distortions and the potential benefits of their full elimination. It also analyzes the effects on U.S. and world agriculture if only partial reform is achieved in liberalizing tariffs, tariff-rate quotas (limits on imported goods), domestic support, and export subsidies.

Keywords: World Trade Organization, trade barriers, tariffs, export subsidies, tariff-rate quotas

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Last updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

For more information contact: Mary E. Burfisher, Xishen Diao, Aziz Elbehri , Mark Gehlhar, Paul Gibson, Susan Leetmaa, Lorraine Mitchell, Frederick J. Nelson, R. Wesley Nimon, Mary Anne Normile, Terry Roe, Shahla Shapouri, David W. Skully, Mark Smith, and Agapi Somwaru

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