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Regional pacts to facilitate global agriculture trade

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Subject

The impact of preferential trade agreements on global agricultural trade.

Significance

Bilateral and regional trade agreements have proliferated since the late 1980s. They account for over 50% of world trade and their share is increasing, according to OECD estimates. These agreements are particularly significant for agricultural trade, principally because this sector has the most to gain from low tariff access to markets. Yet they raise the question of whether such agreements are the most effective instruments for reducing barriers to global agricultural trade.

Impacts

  • Agricultural products such as sugar and dairy are likely to continue appearing frequently on the 'sensitive products' list in PTAs.
  • Japan's aversion to opening its agricultural sector represents a major hurdle to the TPP.
  • The European Parliament will probably reject any TTIP agreement that requires abandoning the 'precautionary principle' on food standards.
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