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Global Trade Preference Reform Working Group (April 2009 – April 2010)
CGD convened the Global Trade Preference Reform Working Group in 2009 to examine existing programs and identify areas for improvement. The group launched its final report, Open Markets for the Poorest Countries: Trade Preferences That Work, in April 2010. The report offers several practical recommendations to make trade preference programs work for development: extend trade preferences to all exports from all least developed countries; relax or remove overly restrictive program rules, especially rules of origin; and make programs permanent or long-lasting. CGD is disseminating the report to trade officials, policymakers, and members of the advocacy community in the U.S. and abroad in the hope of accelerating positive policy change.
Membership & Composition
CGD senior fellow Kimberly Ann Elliott is the working group chair. Other members of the working group, who participate in their personal capacity and on a voluntary basis, are from academia and the public, private, and non-profit sectors in developed and developing economies.
Kimberly Ann Elliott, Center for Global Development
Mehmet Arda, Galatasaray University, IIBF
Johanna Cowan, UK Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills
Reform/Department for International Development
Antoni Estevadeordal, Inter-American Development Bank
Eveline Herfkens, UN Millennium Development Goals Campaign
Bernard Hoekman, World Bank
Angela Hofmann, Wal-Mart
Behnaz Kibria, Unaffiliated
Peter Kleen, European Centre for International Political Economy
Gawain Kripke, Oxfam America
William C. Lane, Caterpillar, Inc.
Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
Pradeep S. Mehta, CUTS International
Andre Nassar, ICONE, Institute for International Trade Negotiations
Susan Prowse, Overseas Development Institute
Vijaya Ramachandran, Center for Global Development
Randall Soderquist, Unaffiliated
Shujiro Urata, Waseda University
Ann Weston, The North-South Institute
Working Group Objective and Approach
The Working Group primarily focused on identifying priorities for preference program reform. In addition, the Working Group considered the incentives, governance capabilities, and financing mechanisms that could plausibly move the world towards greater market access for poor countries. Specifically, the Working Group sought to answer questions such as:
Can 100 percent Duty-Free, Quota-Free (DFQF) access for all low-income developing countries (LDCs) be achieved in the United States, Japan, and other rich countries that have not yet done so? How about with adjustments for quota-controlled agricultural products?
Should the group receiving DFQF be expanded beyond just LDCs?
How should quota-controlled agricultural products be treated? Is quota-free preferred? If so, is it possible? What would a sensible safeguard look like?
Can/should rules of origin be further improved and harmonized across major countries, including the emerging market programs?
How can concerns over preference erosion be prevented from impeding multilateral liberalization?
Is there a concrete proposal for aid-for-trade that makes sense in the context of a preferences reform proposal? Should it address compensation and adjustment assistance issues, supply-side capacity constraints, or both?
This brief summarizes the findings of the CGD Global Trade Preference Reform Working Group and its recommendations to make preference programs better promote prosperity and stability in the world's poorest countries.
The CGD Working Group on Global Trade Preference Reform
The CGD Working Group on Global Trade Preference Reform shows how changes to trade preference programs could greatly benefit those living in the poorest countires at very little cost to preference-giving countries.
Many Americans see trade openness as a threat. Yet access to rich-country markets is crucial for poor people in developing countries to improve their lives. In a new CGD brief based on her essay in The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott suggests a trade policy approach that would address Americans’ concerns and still be pro-poor. One ingredient: treat market access for the world’s poorest countries as a development issue, not trade policy.