US trade policy effectively discriminates against poorer countries. In addition, provisions in trade agreements that tilt the playing field in favor of business interests over those of American consumers and workers also often undermine development priorities in partner countries. American policymakers should rethink the substance and process of trade policy and negotiations to spread the benefits more broadly, at home and abroad.
Demand for and supply of “sustainable” coffee (and other commodities) have grown markedly for two decades, as has the literature analyzing the effects of voluntary sustainability standards for coffee. The evidence for assessing the impacts for smallholder producers and the environment remains relatively weak, however.
In Global Agriculture and the American Farmer, Kimberly Elliott focuses on three policy areas that are particularly damaging for developing countries: traditional agricultural subsidy and trade policies that support the incomes of American farmers at the expense of farmers elsewhere; the biofuels mandate, which in its current form can contribute to market volatility while doing little if anything to mitigate climate change; and weak regulation of antibiotic use in livestock, which contributes to the global spread of drug-resistant super bugs. While noting that broad reforms are needed to fix these problems, Elliott also identifies practical steps that US policymakers could take in the relatively short run to improve farm policies—for American taxpayers and consumers as well as for the poor and vulnerable in developing countries.
A healthy US agricultural sector is critical to global food security. American farmers help keep food affordable around the world, but they also receive public assistance that too often comes at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers, as well as millions of poor farmers in developing countries. While the farm bill is not the primary vehicle for setting policy on biofuels or antibiotic use, Congress could use the legislation to advance smart policy changes that set the stage for broader reforms.
The world will struggle to achieve the goals of ending extreme poverty and hunger by 2030 unless there is a sharp increase in agricultural productivity in Africa. Across sub-Saharan Africa, most people live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihoods; most of them are poor and many are hungry. Could genetically modified organisms (GMOs) help to address some of the causes contributing to Africa’s lagging agricultural productivity? Our answer is a qualified maybe.
There is no question that the “mega-regional” trade deals in the Pacific and across the Atlantic are big. If completed and implemented, they will cover a large portion of global trade and investment. This paper examines the TPP text to identify provisions that are more or less development-friendly, especially for Vietnam, which is the poorest signatory to the deal by far. It concludes with with recommendations for US and EU policymakers that would mitigate potential negative effects for developing countries and for the multilateral trading system, including rules of origin that minimize trade diversion.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, if completed and implemented, will cover a large portion of global trade and investment, but they will exclude the majority of developing countries.
The United States is not using trade as effectively as it might to promote development. The executive and legislative branches of the US government have long recognized that trade can be an important tool to help poorer countries generate resources, create jobs, and reduce poverty. They also recognize that growth in developing countries contributes to global prosperity and growing markets for US exporters as well. Despite that, the few significant US trade barriers that remain often target agricultural and labor-intensive products in which developing countries have a comparative advantage.
Trade is a key tool to bring food security to an estimated 800 million people around the world that remain chronically undernourished. Many countries need reliable access to international markets to supplement their inadequate domestic food supplies. Better policies to make agriculture in developing countries more productive and profitable, including via exports, would also help alleviate food insecurity and reduce poverty. Stronger international trade rules would help by constraining the beggar-thy-neighbor policies that distort trade, contribute to price volatility, and discourage investments in developing-country agriculture.
If the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is to remain as a key part of US development policy in Africa, it needs to embrace the sector on which so many of the poor in Africa depend. According to World Bank data, more than 60 percent of Africans live in rural areas, and they are more likely to be poor than their urban counterparts. Yet, while almost all manufactured goods enter duty-free under AGOA and other trade preference programs, US policy (unintentionally) discriminates against agricultural sectors in which Africa could be competitive.
Opening markets to trade with poor countries was a key part of the eighth Millennium Development Goal and its global partnership for development. Countries recognized that development is about more than aid and that the poorest countries needed to be more integrated with the global economy to help them create jobs and opportunities for growth. In 2005, the World Trade Organization embraced this goal and developing country members agreed that those of them “in a position to do so” should also open their markets to the least developed countries (LDCs). Since then, most developed countries have removed barriers on at least 98 percent of all goods for LDC exporters, while China and India adopted less expansive programs to improve market access for these countries.
Supporting Multilateralism and Development in US Trade Policy with Duty-Free, Quota-Free Market Access and Food Aid Reform
Kimberly Ann Elliott encourages new US Trade Representative Michael Froman to seek congressional approval for duty-free, quota-free market access for all least developed countries and to push ahead on food aid reform
Regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could leave some poor countries behind. Here are three policy changes to help Congress and President Obama avoid doing so.
This paper is an introduction to fair-trade markets, trends, and challenges, and the issues brought on by attempts to get products to the mainstream.
With the Doha Round dead if not buried, the United States has no excuse for not acting on its rhetoric and providing improved market access for all of the world’s least developed countries.
In this note, CGD fellow Kimberly Ann Elliott discusses how flexible rules of origin can improve trade for the least developed countries.
In this brief Kimberly Ann Elliott discusses the two main priorities the Obama administration should focus on in order to revive the AGOA program and expand its benefits.
Stimulating Pakistani Exports and Job Creation: Special Zones Won’t Help Nearly as Much as Cutting Tariffs across the Board
Cutting tariffs across the board on Pakistani exports would expand economic opportunities and increase stability in Pakistan with vanishingly small effects on U.S. producers.