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Preferential Trade Agreements and the Optimal Liberalisation of Agricultural Trade

By S. McDonald and T. Walmsley


Recent years have seen a rapid growth in the number of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) between developed and developing economies. Typically however many of these PTAs only incorporate a partial liberalisation of food and agricultural trade by developed economies. This paper reports the results from simulations conducted using a global comparative static model CGE model that has been calibrated with data from the GTAP database (version 5). Using the EU RSA FTA as an example the results indicate that the optimal degree of food trade liberalisation by the EU is less than 100 percent, and declines appreciably after the optimum. Qualitatively similar results emerge for South Africa. However, the welfare gains for South Africa increase rapidly with the increasing liberalisation of EU food and agricultural trade, while the welfare gains for the EU increase slowly with the increasing liberalisation of South African food trade. These results indicate that bilateral trade negotiations between developing and developed countries may involve a complex bargaining process, wherein the payoffs from different strategies are neither necessarily intuitively obvious nor are they necessarily consistent with the full liberalisation of food trade by developed economies.\u

Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield
Year: 2004
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