Doha Discussion Paper: Special Products Exemption Sharply Reduces Market Access

November 2, 2008

By: National Cotton Council
There are many remaining areas of disagreement in the Doha Round trade negotiations. In the months since the Doha Round July mini-ministerial, virtually all of the discussion has centered on the Special Safeguard Mechanism, cotton, and Sectoral Negotiations in the NAMA (non-agricultural market access) negotiations as being among the last remaining hurdles. The Lamy provisions on Special Products have scarcely been mentioned.

Unfortunately, the Special Products provisions threaten to undermine the potential for any meaningful market access for agricultural exports into developing countries. The Special Products exemptions alone will allow many of the world’s most significant developing countries to avoid formula tariff cuts on 90% of their agricultural trade. Some could shield as much as 98-99% of their agricultural imports from any meaningful increase in market access.

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