In 2003 the WTO Ministerial Meeting at Cancun failed to achieve any significant progress on the liberalisation of agricultural markets in developed or developing countries. If the present round of negotiations is to be successful, it must continue the momentum for reform achieved through the Uruguay Round. Agricultural liberalisation has the potential to deliver significantly improved welfare in both developed and developing countries. This report, prepared for the Commonwealth Secretariat by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, looks at the benefits of liberalisation and examines the closely interrelated use of the three pillars of domestic support, export subsidies and restrictions on market access in distorting world agricultural trade. It outlines the negotiating positions of the key players, and suggests possible areas for compromise and concessions in an attempt to drive forward reform crucial to a successful outcome.
Key Findings 1. Introduction 2. Benefits of Liberalisation 2.1 Costs of Adjustment 2.2 Estimates of the Impact of Liberalisation 3. Three Pillars of Agricultural Support 3.1 Three Pillars of Support 4. Domestic Support in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture 4.1 Market-distorting Support in the United States, European Union and Japan 4.2 Key Limitations in Domestic Support Disciplines 5. Export Subsidies in the United States and the European Union 5.1 Characteristic of Export Subsidies 5.2 Use of Export Subsidies by the US and EU 6. Incidence and Benefits of Support 6.1 United States 6.2 European Union 6.3 Alternative Means of Targeting Agricultural Support 7. Negotiating Positions of Key Players 7.1 The US Proposal 7.2 The Cairns Group Proposal 7.3 The EU Proposal 7.4 The Harbinson Proposal 7.5 The EU-US Joint Proposal 7.6 The G-20 Framework Proposal 7.7 The Derbez Text 7.8 The Cotton Initiative 7.9 African Union/African Caribbean and Pacific Group/Least Developed Countries 8. Possible Compromises 8.1 Objectives for Agreement 8.2 Special Conditions for Developing Countries 8.3 Possible Areas of Compromise in the Doha Round 8.4 Trading Concessions and Expectations from Negotiating Rounds 8.5 The Search for Compromise Addendum: Negotiations in Agriculture and the WTO Framework Agreement Adopted by the WTO General Council on 31 July 2004 Appendix 1. US, EU and Japanese Systems of Support Appendix 2. The Doha Work Programme Glossary References