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Evolving Agricultural Policies and Markets

Implications for Multilateral Trade Reform

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This report focuses on the significant developments in world agricultural markets and in the policies of major agricultural producing regions since the latest round of WTO negotiations began in 2001. In the past decade, production, prices and trade flows have been transformed and countries have substantially altered their agricultural trade and domestic support policies. The impacts of these policies on global production, trade and welfare (proxied by private household consumption) are assessed along with the effects of possible multilateral trade reform scenarios. The assessments are made through an application of the OECD’s computable general equilibrium model, METRO, in conjunction with the AGLINK-COSIMO outlook model.

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Executive summary

Since the latest round of WTO negotiations began in 2001, world agricultural markets have evolved significantly. Production, prices and trade flows have been transformed while over the same period countries have also altered their agricultural trade and domestic support policies substantially. This study focuses on developments in world agricultural markets and in the policies (defined as domestic support policies and trade policies) of major agricultural producing regions that have occurred since 2000. World agricultural markets continue to face significant distortions from government interventions in the sector. While some of these are targeted towards correcting market failures, others are not and have the potential to distort incomes and welfare, reducing the potential benefits that are derived from the sector, the efficiency of global food production and the benefits from trade in its production (as a means of balancing food surplus and deficit regions at least cost to consumers).

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