Agriculture in the Doha Agenda
Policy Research Working Paper
Washington, D.C : World Bank Publications
Policy Research Working Paper : WPS3009
The author looks at the OECD domestic political economy associated with ongoing WTO farm negotiations, focusing on the OECD-based coalitions which could be helpful for WTO negotiators. Support from individual final consumers and taxpayers is far from guaranteed because consumers are spending less and less on food, and because taxpayers support, more or less willingly, non-trade concerns, such as environment or food safety, that they tend (wrongly) to associate with domestic farmers. As a result, trade negotiators should look at other allies. A natural candidate is a powerful group of consumers-the agribusiness industries-for which a reduction of the still high protection of their products under the Doha Round requires a corresponding reduction of protection in their farm inputs. They should also talk to farmers, hence sharpen their arguments, in particular by focusing on the distinction between small and large farmers, the latter being by far the main beneficiaries of the current OECD farm protectionist policies.