The worldwide elimination of trade barriers would not only
improve market access for the Southern Hemisphere to the North. It would
equally benefit South-South trade.
South-South trade now constitutes between one-quarter and 40
percent of developing country exports.
South-South trade is growing 50 percent faster than world trade in
South-South trade has grown from 9 percent of total trade in 1985
to 14 percent in 2002.
South-South tariffs average 11.1 percent versus North-North
tariffs of 4.3 percent.
Nearly 70 percent of tariffs paid by developing countries are paid
to other developing countries.
Importance of Agriculture to the DDA
Of the 148 countries that are currently members of the WTO, two-thirds of
them are developing countries. A large number of these countries,
especially the least developed, relied on agriculture for as much as 30 percent
of their gross domestic product (GDP) in 2001.
From 2003 to 2004, agriculture employed more than 50 percent of the workforce in
Because agriculture is crucial to the GDP of many
developing countries, some have focused on the need for developed nations to
reduce and eliminate trade-distorting subsidies even though some studies show
the impact of agricultural subsidies on developing nations are minimal. For
example, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali are West African cotton-producing
countries that tabled concerns about U.S. cotton subsidies in 2003. In response
to these concerns, the United States is helping these
countries build their capacity to trade in the international marketplace.
For example, the United States
is providing these and other African countries access to opportunities in the
U.S. market through the African Growth and Opportunity Act and related technical
assistance. Currently, 96 percent of U.S. agricultural imports from Sub-Saharan
African countries enjoy duty-free access to the United States. We are also
helping these cotton-producing countries improve their production and processing
systems and create a better appreciation for the quality of their cotton in
major Asian markets, such as China and India. In addition, Benin, Burkina Faso,
Mali and Senegal have either been designated as eligible for assistance under
the United States’ new Millennium Challenge Account or are on the threshold of
eligibility due to their efforts to govern justly, invest in their people and
encourage economic freedom. The United States has also helped to establish a
multilaterally funded Integrated Framework in cooperation with the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund. This framework can provide substantial
resources to help cotton-producing and other developing countries adjust to and
access the expanded opportunities of a liberalized trading system, which will
follow the successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations.
The success of the Hong Kong Ministerial and the DDA hinges
on agriculture. Unless progress is made in agriculture, advances in
non-agricultural market access and services cannot be accomplished.
The Doha Round, with its potential to bring developing
countries into an ever-expanding circle of trade and development, is the best
means for growing the economies of the developing world, lifting hundreds of
millions of people out of poverty, and improving the living standards for all of
the world’s people.
Updated December 12, 2005