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Issues in the Administration of Tariff-Rate Import Quotas in the Agreement on Agriculture in the WTO: An Introduction

  • Harry de Gorter (a1) and Ian M. Sheldon (a1)

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The Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (URAA) put in place a set of rules that may, in the future, have significant effects on the conditions for market access for agricultural products. Bound tariffs replaced non-tariff barriers in most cases, and rules facing exporters are now more transparent. In addition, minimum access commitments were made through the use of import quotas, with a lower tariff for imports within the quota. Although agriculture is now integrated into the multilateral trading system, most commentators agree that the URAA did little actually to liberalize agricultural trade. Bound out-of-quota tariffs remain very high while quotas have resulted in the institutionalization of rents for specific countries and firms or state trading enterprises, thereby potentially increasing resistance by these stakeholders to any trade liberalization initiatives.

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Financial support from Walt Armbruster and the Farm Foundation, and from Dan Sumner and the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, is gratefully acknowledged. Ian Sheldon also acknowledges salary and research support provided by State and Federal funds appropriated to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University. Gratitude is also extended to Harry Kaiser for his comments on the papers and his efforts in publishing this special issue of the Journal.

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