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In this CGD/ Peterson Institute Brief, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott argues that agriculture liberalization is crucial to the successful completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, since it is the sector with the highest remaining barriers in rich countries and the greatest potential gains from further liberalization. She examines patterns in rich-country support for agriculture and what reform would mean for developing countries, and offers policy recommendations for how to complete the round and ensure that developing countries benefit. Chief among her recommendations:
The United States should agree to a sharply lower ceiling for permitted domestic subsidies so that actual spending is constrained.
The European Union (E.U.) should eliminate export subsidies and accept more imports.
Japan, Korea, Switzerland and other non-E.U. European states will have to agree to cap their tariffs and allow some increased access for even the most sensitive items, including rice, beef and dairy products.
To clinch the overall trade bargain, and to improve their own competitiveness, the more advanced developing countries should open their markets to manufactured goods and services.