Sensitive” farm quotas revealed

The glob­al tariff-quotas—open to all suppliers—would have been:

  • Beef: 290,000 tonnes
  • Sheep­meat: 42,000 tonnes
  • But­ter: 69,000 tonnes
  • Cheese: 79,000 tonnes
  • Sug­ar: 680,000 tonnes
  • Poul­try: 200,000 tonnes

There are sev­er­al catch­es, of course. These are “sen­si­tive prod­uct” quo­tas that the EU would have opened up in return for keep­ing high bar­ri­ers around the oth­er 92% of its mar­ket for these prod­ucts (quo­tas were set at 3–5% of con­sump­tion in the Uruguay Round of nego­ti­a­tions, so adding new quo­tas equal to about 4% of con­sump­tion would take import quo­tas to around 8% in total). There are few rules on quo­ta admin­is­tra­tion in the draft Doha deal, but you can be pret­ty con­fi­dent that EU quo­ta-hold­ers will secure most of the rents in these quotas—that is, the dif­fer­ence between the EU whole­sale price and the land­ed, duty-paid price, if any. Also, based on past behav­ior, there is a risk some quo­tas would be admin­is­tered in a way that ensured they would be only part­ly filled.

Very like­ly, the USA, Cana­da and Japan would also have opened up new quo­tas equal to about 4% (or less) of their domes­tic con­sump­tion of prod­ucts such as pork, dairy, sug­ar and grains (more here and here).

Ques­tion: does this look like the ‘sub­stan­tial improve­ments in mar­ket access’ that the Doha Round set out to achieve? Bar­ri­ers to farm trade would have remained high as part of the deal on these quo­tas. The Doha round offered the EU, Japan and to a less­er extent the USA and Cana­da a way to buy an exten­sion of their exist­ing bar­ri­ers (it offered devel­op­ing coun­tries still greater con­ces­sions on farm trade bar­ri­ers). So the prob­lems would have remained the same, but a lit­tle soft­er around the edges.

There’s no doubt, how­ev­er, that these are attrac­tive num­bers for Aus­tralian sug­ar, meat, and dairy exporters.

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