Doha Round Baggage: Implications for Economic Reforms in Pakistan and other Southern Countries

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Naheed Zia Khan (2007)
  • Journal: Lahore Journal of Economics, volume 12, issue Special Edition September, pages 154-172

This study is based on the premisethat agriculture remains the key issue in all reform efforts of Pakistanand the Doha Round of trade talks has strategic significance for the second round of the country’s farm sector reforms. It is argued that although there are differences among the individual developing countries, the majority have a comparative advantage in agricultural production and removing farmsector export subsidies and trade-distorting, domestic subsidies is their common concern. Evidence is provided to support the view that the UruguayRound negotiations on agricultural subsidies are not a done deal, because although signed by the members, the Agreement on Agriculture is not ‘ratified’ by the recent farm bills of the developed countries which continue to defy economic logic and the WTO (World Trade Organization). On the otherhand, the evidence provided from Pakistan shows that the governments of developing countries are not fighting the farmers’ cause since they are poorly managing agricultural policy and have been overly compliant with respect to the Uruguay Round ruling on reducing farm subsidies and increasing trade liberalization. The analysis shows that although the developed countries stand to gain far more from the liberalization of trade in agricultural commodities than the developing countries, the handful of farmers in developed countries are the stumbling block to the regeneration of world trade. It is argued that to alleviate world poverty, the developed countries need todemonstrate their willingness to gradually remove both the absolute value of subsidies provided to their farmers and the tariff and non-tariff barriers that protect agriculture. Finally, the author maintains that at world trade forums, the developing countries have exhibited poor representation due to lack of leadership.
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