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Trade policy technical notes

No. 21. Trade and Nutrition

This technical note explores the impact of trade on nutrition, addressing the role of trade in the “nutrition transition” and the extent to which trade policies affect nutritional objectives.

No. 20. Measuring the cost of dietary diversity

This technical note describes a novel approach to measuring changes in the affordability of nutritious diets in low-income settings, using price indexes to monitor how trade policy or market infrastructure and other factors influence the cost of reaching a standard threshold of dietary diversity.

No. 19. Ex-post evidence on the effectiveness of policies targeted at promoting healthier diets

This note provides a structured review of adoption trends of national policies aimed at promoting healthier diets and collates evidence on their effectiveness. We limit our focus to evidence exploiting data collected after the policy implementation, and using appropriate counterfactual methods to identify the policy effect.

No. 18. The influence of agricultural, trade and food policies on diets

Traditionally, agricultural, trade and food policies have rarely been shaped by their anticipated dietary and nutritional impacts. Yet, such policy choices have potentially important consequences for the diets and nutrition of populations.This note presents an overview of dietary implications of agri-food policies not explicitly targeted at nutrition. 

No. 17. Transnational corporations, food systems and their impacts on diets in developing countries

The objective in this technical note is to look at transnational corporations in the food industries and study the conceptual issues in trying to assess causation for diet change and to examine the (limited) empirical evidence supporting alternative views.

No. 16. WTO Agreement on Agriculture: Export Competition after the Nairobi Ministerial Conference 
The Ministerial Decision on Export Competition introduced prohibitions to agricultural export subsidies. It foresees the elimination of export subsidies in different timeframes for developed and developing countries. Specific exceptions have been agreed upon for some products and for particular developed and developing members. The Decision also covers the other three elements (namely Export Credits and Guarantees, International Food Aid and State Trading Enterprises) of the Export Competition pillar. While the elimination of export subsidy entitlements is not expected to induce changes in existing policies, it will, however, prevent future use of the measure

No. 15. Import surges and the Special Safeguard Mechanism revisited 
This Technical Note revisits the analysis presented in Technical Note No. 9, updating data used in the identification of Import Surges to 2013 to capture recent changes in the global market context of higher and more volatile food prices and significant increases in volumes of imports to food deficit developing countries.

No. 14. Towards appropriate agricultural trade policy for low income developing countries.
Many developing countries are currently under pressure to reduce their trade barriers to the entry of agricultural products. This pressure comes both as a result of ongoing trade negotiations (multilateral, plurilateral or bilateral) and due to policy advice from donors and international organizations based on the assumption that a liberal agricultural trade policy is necessary to allow growth through trade expansion.

No. 13. Trade Policy Simulation Models: Estimating global impacts of agricultural trade policy reform in the Doha Round.
There has been a recent proliferation of simulation modelling exercises attempting to quantify the potential economic gains from further liberalization of agricultural trade, and in doing so, seeking to inform the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. This paper seeks to contribute to a better appreciation of what the results of simulation models actually mean, and the extent to which they can be used to inform debates relating to trade policy reform.

No. 12. Rice: what do analytical model results tell us?
2004 was declared the International Year of Rice by the United Nations General Assembly, a tribute to a commodity that is the staple food for about half of the world's population and also a major income earner in the developing countries. Because of its strategic importance, rice has been subject to a host of policy interventions that have made it feature among the most distorted agricultural commodities. For this reason, rice is frequently specified in models that analyse the effects of trade liberalization. The objective of this technical note is to review and compare the various analytical tools employed to assess such impacts, with the ultimate aim of shedding some light on critical issues under discussion in the WTO Doha Round Multilateral Trade Negotiations.

No. 11. Dairy - Measuring the impact of reform
Determining the impact of reforms to dairy sector policies is problematic and controversial. The extent and pervasiveness of intervention in the sector, and the resulting distortions to the international market, would suggest that liberalization could potentially lead to large gains, and indeed these are consistently reflected in most model-based analyses. The size of impacts has long been thought of as the key reason why dairy reforms and trade discussions have been so difficult. However, there are reasons for questioning estimates of the likely magnitudes of such impacts across different importing and exporting countries.

No. 10. Special and differential treatment in agriculture.
This technical note is intended to contribute to the process of clarifying issues and identifying possible options to facilitate agreement on areas of special and differential treatment in the context of the agriculture negotiations. It first addresses what is seen by some members as the most difficult area, the cross cutting issues related to development, focused on the principles behind, and purpose of, SDT. It then examines the agreement-specific proposals under the three pillars of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), as raised in the August Framework Agreement. It concludes with a discussion of implementation, an area of particular concern to the developing countries.

No. 9. A special safeguard mechanism for developing countries.
As countries reduce tariffs and bind them at lower levels, they become increasingly vulnerable to external agricultural market instability and to import surges that could damage viable agricultural production activities. Vulnerability to such external shocks is of particular concern to developing countries endeavouring to develop their agricultural potential and to diversify production in order to enhance their food security and alleviate poverty.

No. 8. Food aid in the context of international and domestic markets and the Doha Round
This technical note reviews major developments in the international food aid system and different positions on the effectiveness and impact of food aid. It also attempts to clarify the terminology, definitions and concepts used in discussions on food aid, with a view to improving the process of analysis and to help focus the debate under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Framework Agreement on Agriculture adopted on 1 August 2004, which has called for negotiations on food aid disciplines.

No. 7. Agricultural preferences: issues for negotiation.
Access for developing country exports to developed country markets on preferential terms has been a long standing component of multilateral trading arrangements. The main purpose of preferences is to promote increases in the volume and value of exports from developing countries, thereby contributing to their growth and development the logic being that through greater volumes of sales, on a more stable basis and at higher prices than would otherwise be obtained, development and growth can be realized in the recipient country.

No. 6. Sugar: the impact of reforms to sugar sector policies - a guide to contemporary analyses
This technical note is intended as a guide to assist in the interpretation of a range of existing analytical studies of the impact of current sugar sector policies on world market conditions and on developing country producers, and of the insights that these studies can provide (and those that they cannot) in determining the potential impacts of future reform initiatives. This is especially important in the case of the sugar sector, since recent announcements of major reforms are yet to be fully incorporated into contemporary analytical studies.

No. 5. Domestic support: trade related issues and the empirical evidence
This Technical Note seeks to address two central questions relating to negotiations towards further disciplines on domestic support measures: (i) what are the characteristics of domestic support measures that cause such measures to have a potentially trade distortionary effect? and (ii) will further World Trade Organization(WTO) disciplines on domestic support measures be effective in reducing levels of trade distorting support

No. 4. Export competition: selected issues and the empirical evidence
There is broad agreement that interventions to support exports of agricultural commodities have the potential to distort competition on world commodity markets. In particular, the use of export subsidies can displace not only third country exporters, but also domestic producers in importing countries, with particularly detrimental effects to the development prospects of developing countries. In principle, it is also possible that other government interventions, e.g. through the use of export credits, the activities of state trading enterprises or the use of food aid to dispose of surplus production, could have similar effects to direct export subsidies in distorting markets and trade flows.

No. 3. Bananas: is there a tariff-only equivalent to the EU tariff rate quota regime? Insights from economic analysis.
Following its enlargement to include ten Central and Eastern European countries in May 2004, the European Union (EU) has now become the largest banana market in the world. It is forecast to import some 3.8 million tonnes of bananas in 2005, which would account for almost a third of world banana imports. As bananas enter freely into United States territory, and Japanese banana imports originate mainly in Asia, the rapidly approaching change in the EU banana import regime has raised considerable interest and debate amongst ACP and Latin American countries.

No. 2. Tariff reduction formulae: Methodological issues in assessing their effects
The current round of WTO negotiations on agriculture initiated in Doha in 2001 produced a range of suggestions as to the appropriate approach for further cuts in, and disciplines on, the use of agricultural tariffs. Subsequent analyses have provided crucial information for negotiators and policy analysts on the relative implications of these approaches on the tariff profiles of their individual countries as well as on those of their main trading partners. However, it is essential that these analysts and negotiators are aware of a number of key methodological issues and assumptions which can fundamentally affect analytical results.

No. 1. Cotton: impact of support policies on developing countries - a guide to contemporary analysis.
This trade policy technical note is intended as a guide to assist in the interpretation of the range of existing analytical studies on the impact of developed country cotton support on developing countries.