Do developing countries need a development box?
Developing country proposals for a Development Box focus on changes to WTO rules on agricultural trade that would enable them to address more effectively their objectives related to food security, poverty alleviation and economic development. Yet, there are few instances where developing countries have been constrained in the policies they can adopt. This does not mean that demands for a Development Box are pointless, for if the next WTO agreement is to have a real impact on rates of protection, there will be a need for tighter commitments in both developed and developing countries. Hence proposals for a Development Box can be seen as an insurance policy, given the prospect of deeper multilateral reforms. There is a strong case for easier access to safeguards, under which developing countries could temporarily apply higher tariffs on food security crops when world prices are depressed below threshold levels. There may be an economic justification for expanding the types of domestic support measures that developing countries can employ, in those rare cases where policies would otherwise be constrained. However, these demands should not constrain progress on the most important issue; namely, how OECD countries can do more for developing countries through improvements in market access, the elimination of explicit and implicit export subsidies, and reductions in trade-distorting domestic support.
Brooks, J; Matthews, A; Wilson, N
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)