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Research Programme « CAP Efficiency, equity et transparency »
(English version, version française)

« European Biofuels Policy » Research Programme (EBP)
(English version, version française)

Managing the World Water Gap, A Global Approach Programme (GAP)
English version

A small and still declining percentage of GDP in developed countries, the agricultural sector remains large, and hence vital for many developing countries. At the same time, liberalising trade in agricultural products is highly sensitive from a political point of view, both in developed and developing countries. This is why the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiation (1986-1995) re-incorporated the farm sector in the WTO framework, but was unable to achieve significant effective liberalisation. A successful conclusion to WTO negotiations in the ongoing Doha Round thus depends to a large extent on finding agreement in this one area.

Agricultural Trade Negotiations
Trade in agricultural products only accounts for approximately 12% of world trade. Agriculture is one of the rare cases where OECD rich countries are generally more protected than developing countries. The wide range and magnitude of barriers affecting agricultural trade, and the large diversity of often conflicting interests have hampered multilateral (WTO) and regional (such as between the European Union and Mercosur) trade negotiations.

The WTO Framework Agreement reached in July 2004 constitutes a modest step forward. It still leaves many contentious issues to be solved before the next WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Hong-Kong in December 2005. Some issues seem on the verge to be solved, such as the transposition of specific duties into ad valorem tariffs, a very technical point of crucial importance from an economic, and hence political, perspective.

Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the pillars of the European Community. Its reform has been very slow and incomplete. Indeed, it is not clear yet whether the latest reform of the CAP (in 2003) will allow the European community to face the new challenges of EU enlargement and Doha negotiations on freer trade of farm products.

Research Programme « CAP Efficiency, equity et transparency »
(in English, en français)

Primary Commodities Markets
From a regulatory point of view, international commodity markets have undergone profound changes over the last twenty years: the collapse of international price stabilisation regimes, liberalisation of domestic supply chains and the rise of multinational agribusiness companies, just to name a few. The market structures that have resulted from these changes, as well as their implications for developing country commodity producers, are still not fully understood.


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Géraldine Kutas
Ben Shepherd


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