Environmental Considerations in a New Multilateral Agricultural Negotiation, and Associated Developing Country Implications

CSGR Working Paper No. 46/99

35 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2000

See all articles by John Whalley

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI)

Date Written: November 1999

Abstract

This paper discusses the potential role for environmental considerations in agricultural negotiations in the next WTO trade round, from developing country perspective. For now, as a non-trade issue in the new negotiations, environmental considerations are not the dominant concern, which is food security; although conflicts have arisen over the issue of multi functionality (agriculture serving multiple purposes including providing support for the rural environment), whether export subsidies have any rationale on environmental grounds, and the environmental case for the elimination of fishing subsidies. If new agricultural disciplines remain focused on the Uruguay Round issues of tightening the existing structure of bound tariffs, and limitations on domestic supports and export subsidies, then environmental concerns could enter in all of these. I suggest that for the developing countries, available studies seemingly point to substantial gains for them from internalization of externalities related to their own rural/agricultural activities and seemingly, further, environmental concerns should dominate trade concerns. However, the agriculture disciplines from the Uruguay Round seemingly provide relatively inefficient instruments to achieve substantive internalization of their externalities. Also, allowing environmental concerns to enter runs the risk of market restricting justifications (multi functionality) adversely affecting their export access to foreign markets. Finally, among the list of items on the trade and environmental agenda (Art 20 exceptions, MEAs, lax standards, eco-labeling) few or none can be addressed adequately as part of an environmental negotiation, and so environment in an agricultural negotiation is no substitute for a wider trade and environment negotiation. The bottom line is to suggest that developing countries focus heavily on environmental issues, perhaps even more so than trade, but that a WTO negotiation on agriculture is not the best forum to seek a remedy.

JEL Classification: F19, Q28, Q38

Suggested Citation

Whalley, John, Environmental Considerations in a New Multilateral Agricultural Negotiation, and Associated Developing Country Implications (November 1999). CSGR Working Paper No. 46/99. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=202150 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.202150

John Whalley (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada
519-661-3509, ext. 83509 (Phone)
519-661-3666 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/economics/faculty/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

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