Developing Countries in the World Trading System
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Developing Countries in the World Trading System

The Uruguay Round and Beyond

Edited by Ramesh Adhikari and Prema-chandra Athukorala

The book examines the achievements of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in reforming the world trading system and the challenges to future reforms. It begins with an overview of the genesis of the world trading system and moves on to examine the key issues as they relate to developing countries. These include further liberalization of agricultural trade; abolition of the Multifibre Arrangement; environmental and labour standards; competition policy; regional integration in South East Asia; and the implications for developing Asian countries of the liberalization of the Chinese economy and its WTO membership. Furthermore, the book discusses the links between trade liberalization and poverty reduction – drawing on the experience of Asian countries – and puts forward arguments on how trade liberalization could effect a greater reduction in poverty.
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Chapter 4: Asian developing countries and the global trading system for agriculture, textiles and clothing

Prema-chandra Athukorala


Chapter 4 11/2/02 1:13 pm Page 1 4. Asian developing countries and the global trading system for agriculture, textiles and clothing Prema-chandra Athukorala The signing of the UR Agreement in 1994 and the inauguration of the WTO in 1995 have set the stage for effective participation by developing countries in a rules-based world trading system. Particularly important in this connection are the agreements relating to agriculture (URAA) and to textiles and clothing (ATC). These agreements aim to strengthen multilateral discipline in these two product areas, which are of significant export interest for developing countries. The actual extent of liberalization to be achieved under these agreements is likely to be extremely modest. The major focus of the URAA is on the translation of nontariff barriers (NTBs) into tariffs (tariffication), but the actual reduction of protection is still to be agreed as part of a built-in agenda. The agreement included a provision to undertake further negotiations on agricultural protection in 2000, under which countries that agree to concessions will receive reciprocal concessions.1 Unlike the URAA, the ATC contains a bound commitment by industrial countries to phase out MFA quotas. However, the ATC allows the industrial countries to delay almost all removal of MFA-sanctioned import quotas until 2005. Even then the industrial countries can use safeguard provisions of the agreement to water down promised liberalization if they choose to do so. There are also indications that the industrial countries are likely to rely increasingly on antidumping provisions as a new form of...

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