Caribbean Community Agro-Economy and the GATT/WTO Rules on Agriculture: Imperitives for Subregional Growth and Development

This paper addresses the imperatives for accelerated growth and development in CARICOM countries, within the context of an evolving "new economic order", which has been manifested in the signing of the accord to the GATT/WTO Uruguay Round of Negotiations in April 1994. Against the backdrop of tensions, the Uruguay Round accord brought closure on a number of major trade reform issues. The accord, inter alia, aims for: 1) greater liberalization of trade, including agricultural trade, 2) consolidation of measures affecting import access and export competition under strengthened and more operationally effective rules, 3) monitoring, and enforcement of appropriate multilateral economic behavior, and 4) a competitive environment, by increasing discipline in the use .of direct and indirect subsidies and other distortions to agricultural trade. This paper develops a conceptual economic framework which we consider relevant and enlightening for analysis of the GATT/WTO rules, as they relate to CARICOM. A descriptive, analytical and diagnostic approach is then applied in an attempt to identify opportunities and challenges facing CARICOM countries as. they embrace market oriented policies and increase their participation in international trade. We argue that in the short run, CARICOM countries can still operate under the present status quo, based on the explicit recognition given by GATT/WTO to their special adjustment constraints. These countries must, however, pursue major new imperatives for growth and development in anticipation of the full effect of the new rules. Consistencies and inconsistencies between CARICOM trade rules/behavior and those of the GATT/WTO are identified. Also, suggestions are made regarding the adoption of appropriate structural and behavioral economic imperatives that appear to offer potential for strategically repositioning and reinserting CARICOM's agro-economy in the new economic order.

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CARICOM, GATT/WTO, Trade liberalization, Welfare Gains,
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Working or Discussion Paper
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International Working Paper Series

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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