Trade Agreement Developing Countries

Non-traditional trade barrier measures are more difficult to quantify and assess, but they are gaining in importance due to the decline in traditional customs protection and barriers such as import quotas. Anti-dumping measures are on the rise in both developed and developing countries, but are disproportionately affected by developing countries. Another major obstacle is the requirement to comply with the technical and hygienic standards applicable to imports. They entail costs for exporters that may outweigh the benefits to consumers. Eu rules on aflotoxins, for example, cost Africa $1.3 billion in grain, dried fruit and nut exports per European life saved9 Is this a fair balance between costs and benefits? Improved market access for the poorest developing countries would enable them to use trade for development and poverty alleviation. Providing the poorest countries with duty-free and quota-free access to world markets would greatly benefit these low-cost countries for the rest of the world. Recent market opening initiatives by the EU and some other countries are important steps in this regard.10 To be fully effective, this access should be made permanent, extended to all products and accompanied by simple and transparent rules of origin. This would give the poorest countries the confidence to maintain difficult domestic reforms and ensure the effective use of debt relief and aid flows. These considerations underscore the need for further trade liberalization. Although protection has declined significantly over the past three decades, it remains important in both developed and developing countries, particularly in sectors such as agricultural products or labour-intensive industrial and service enterprises (e.g.

B construction), where developing countries have comparative advantages. Many developing countries themselves have high tariffs. On average, their tariffs on the industrial products they import are three to four times higher than those of industrialized countries and have the same characteristics of peaks and escalation. Tariffs on agriculture are even higher (18%) than tariffs on industrial products8. Estimates of the benefits of removing all barriers to trade in goods range from $250 billion to $680 billion per year. About two-thirds of these benefits would go to industrialized countries. But the amount allocated to developing countries would still be more than double the amount of aid they currently receive. Moreover, as a percentage of their GDP, developing countries would benefit more from global trade liberalization than industrialized countries, because their economies are more protected and face higher barriers.

. . .