Discussion paper

DP5156 Doha Merchandise Trade Reform: What?s at Stake for Developing Countries?

This paper provides new estimates of the global gains from multilateral trade reform and their distribution among developing countries in the presence of trade preferences. Particular attention is given to agriculture, as farmers constitute the poorest households in developing countries but the most assisted in rich countries. The latest GTAP database (Version 6.05) and the World Bank?s LINKAGE model of the global economy are employed to examine the impact first of current merchandise trade barriers and agricultural subsidies, and then of possible reform outcomes from the WTO?s Doha Development Agenda. The results suggest moving to free global merchandise trade would boost real incomes in Sub-Saharan Africa proportionately more than in other developing countries or high-income countries, despite a terms of trade loss in parts of that region. Net farm incomes would all rise substantially in that and other developing country regions, thereby alleviating rural poverty. A Doha partial liberalization could move the world some way towards those desirable outcomes, but more so the more developing countries themselves cut applied tariffs, particularly on agricultural imports.


Anderson, K, D van der Mensbrugghe and W Martin (2005), ‘DP5156 Doha Merchandise Trade Reform: What?s at Stake for Developing Countries?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5156. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp5156