Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by David Deese
Chapter 8: Agricultural trade and economic development: contradictions and incongruities between law and policy
This chapter critically assesses the problems that have emerged in the wake of the proliferation of developmental preferential trade agreements (PTAs) between the industrialized customs unions of the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US) and those of less industrialized, agriculturally based economies. It argues that, without lessening the restrictions on trade in agricultural goods, developmental PTAs cannot benefit those underdeveloped economies that they seek to help. The chapter first introduces the idea of development-through-trade as it reviews and comments on the exceptions to the most favoured nation (MFN) principle – the non-discrimination norm at the core of the multilateral trading system – in the various multilateral trade agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that allow for the creation of developmental PTAs. Exceptions in favour of lesser-developed members are evident in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as they are in various waivers specifically approved by the WTO.
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