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Special Products exemption sharply reduces market access gains

25
Nov '08
A National Cotton Council NCC analysis indicates that exemptions for “Special Products” in the latest World Trade Organization Doha negotiating text could dramatically undermine potential market access gains.

The current texts would allow developing countries to designate 12-13% of their tariff lines as “Special Products.” Up to 5% of such tariff lines may be exempt from any tariff cuts and the average tariff cut across Special Products would be 10-11%. These cuts are far less than the reductions called for in the general formula.

In general, agricultural imports by developing countries are concentrated in a relatively few tariff lines. In fact, for many countries, the top 5% of tariff lines based on import values accounts for 80-85% of their total imports. If a country were selective in their designation of “Special Products,” it is possible to shield virtually all of their domestic market from additional access. In the case of India, selective designation could shield more than 99% of total imports from any changes in applied tariffs.

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National Cotton Council


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