Journal Article

Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the World Trade Organization: the Case of Wheat

Thomas W. Hertel, Will Martin and Amanda M. Leister

in The World Bank Economic Review

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 330-359
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0258-6770
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1564-698X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wber/lhq010
Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the World Trade Organization: the Case of Wheat

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The special safeguard mechanism—both quantity- and price-based—was key in the July 2008 failure to reach agreement in the World Trade Organization negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda. A stochastic simulation model of the world wheat market is used to investigate the effects of the special safeguard mechanism. As expected, the quantity-based safeguard is found to reduce imports, raise domestic prices, and boost mean domestic production in the countries that implement it. However, rather than insulating developing countries in those regions from price volatility, the quantity-based safeguard increases domestic price volatility, largely by restricting imports when domestic output is low and prices are high. The quantity-based safeguard shrinks average wheat imports nearly 50 percent in some regions, and global wheat trade falls by 4.7 percent. The price-based safeguard discriminates against lower price exporters and contributes to producer price instability.

Keywords: G33; Doha Development Agenda; Gaussian quadrature; safeguard; special safeguard mechanism; SSM; wheat; World Trade Organization; WTO; trade and development; F1; F13; F51; O24; Q1; Q17

Journal Article.  11400 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Trade ; International Relations and International Political Economy ; Development Planning and Policy ; Agricultural Economics

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