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SMOKE AND MIRRORS MAKING SENSE OF THE TWO INDUSTRIAL TARIFF NEGOCIATIONS

POLICY ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND COMMODITIES STUDY SERIES N°30

The WTO negociations on industrial tariffs raise a number of important development-related issues. A major issue is the extent to wich they address barriers that face the key exports of developing countries as they try to expand and diversify their production and trade.This problem has been well documented in the past by the IMF, UNCTAD, the World Bank and the WTO, but much remains to be done to tackle high tariffs and tariff escalation, not to mention non-tariff and market entry barriers.

A second issue arising from the WTO negociations is the extent to wich commitments that are being sought from the developing countrires contribute to their economic development.While economists generally agree that, at least in the longer term, trade liberalization is beneficial to economic development, there is also debate about whether certain forms of intervention may be justified on the basis of protection for infant industries or in the presence of externalities with Rodrik (2001) in particular noting that the developed countries used such intervention at earlier stages of their own industrialization.There is somewhat less debate – and comparatively little knowledge – regarding the process of adjustment, with citations of cases where rapid adjustement seems to have created few problems while in other cases there have been major disruptions.

Auteur / Editeur : UNITED NATIONS

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