Evolving Agricultural Policies and Markets

Implications for Multilateral Trade Reform

image of Evolving Agricultural Policies and Markets

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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Since 2001, when the latest round of agricultural trade negotiations formally begun, there have been significant developments in both agricultural markets and to the use agricultural policies worldwide. Shifts have been observed in the relative importance of production centres and in price paths for a number of agricultural commodities. Trading patterns have also been altered. At the same time, governments across the world have pursued a wide range of different policies. There have been changing levels and types of support provided to agriculture across different regions. Access to markets has also changed. All these influences suggest that the impacts on markets, economies and households of current agricultural policies are likely to have also changed and with it, the nature and source of the gains from less distorted agricultural markets.

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