After six years of negotiation, the latest compromise from the Chair of the negotiating group is a complex package whose main strengths are that it includes ‘across the board’ cuts in bound rates of duty on agricultural imports and an effective elimination of export subsidies. Still, border barriers are so high that these cuts look unlikely to bring about the ‘substantial improvements in market access’ governments proposed in 2001 and the proposal even takes some backward steps. The breadth of exceptions it includes, especially for developing countries, suggests it will not help the poorest countries. It will probably make no difference to planned production support levels in the USA and EC.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher