Agricultural Export Restrictions: Welfare Implications and Trade Disciplines
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The dramatic commodity price increases seen in 2007 and 2008 triggered a record number of export restrictions, in particular for rice and wheat, which led in turn to even greater price hikes, and hindered sufficient and timely procurement of much needed food aid. Export restrictions — in the form of bans, quotas or taxes — are often imposed by governments as a means to promote domestic food security. Although they may bring some short-term relief to domestic consumers, economic analysis — as presented in this paper — clearly shows that their overall impact on the domestic economy as well as on the rest of the world is negative. In this paper, we suggest some alternative measures governments could undertake to safeguard food security. We also offer some suggestions on how to craft improved trade disciplines on agricultural export restrictions since existing agricultural trade rules are primarily focused on the problems of exporters and have largely ignored the importers’ main problem, which is unreliability of supplies.
Read the Policy Focus based on this longer Position Paper.
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