Trade Liberalisation Policies, Intra-regional Trade and Opportunities for Sustainable Agricultural Development

Publication Year : 2001

Many of the Near East (NE) countries are currently opening their agricultural markets at three distinct but interacting levels: unilateral liberalisation, regional integration schemes and multilateral trade liberalisation. These changes hold important implications for intra- and extra-regional trade, use of agricultural resources and sustainability of agricultural development in the NE countries. Unilaterally, and since the late 1980s, most countries of the region have liberalised their agriculture sectors by eliminating or reducing input subsidies, removing or reducing guaranteed producer prices, reducing the number of subsidised commodities and liberalising the exchange rate and the trade regime. Most of the implicit and explicit subsidies for agricultural inputs and outputs were withdrawn. However, some of the NE countries were able to continue supporting agriculture mainly for food security reasons. Experiences showed that domestic reform is necessary but not sufficient condition for economic growth.