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WTO Negotiations on Agriculture
 

Implications for Developing Countries

On 12 October 2002 a seminar was delivered by Mr N. El Amin with the participation of two eminent discussants: Mr G. Habash, Deputy Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, and Mr M. Tawfik Summak, economist.

Mr El Amin presented a historical outline of multilateral agreements and negotiations on agricultural trade, including the basic principles of the GATT, the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreement, the establishment of the WTO and the recent Doha Ministerial Conference of November 2001. He indicated that effective involvement of Developing Countries (DCs) in this process is constrained by the lacking scientific capability to innovate and the inadequate institutional setting and managerial expertise. These weaknesses reduce DCs’ ability to compete in a trade environment  where protection through tariffs is increasingly replaced by non tariff restrictions such as those deriving from Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures and Technical Barriers to Trade.

The discussants focused on the case of Syria and underlined the potential gains from trade deriving from the enhanced international integration brought about by WTO membership. To this effect, they urged the necessity of building a stronger and flexible national capacity for agricultural policy formulation as a basic  tool for Syrian negotiations.

 

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Last update: 24.05.2004