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Trade liberalisation in the livestock sector is not likely to benefit to any great degree from the trade negotiations on agriculture at the WTO that commenced in the spring of 2000. This is because the major barriers to trade in livestock and red meat are not related to tariffs and other traditional border measures that restrict trade or subsidisation; rather, they are governed by the WTO's SPS Agreement and the GATT's contingency protection provisions relating to dumping and countervailing duties. Negotiations on these issues will have to await a general WTO negotiating round. As SPS and contingency protection questions have many interested sectors, progress is likely to be slow and the prospects for further formal liberalisation remote in the near future. In these circumstances, private sector initiatives to defuse trade problems before they start is a strategy that should be continued and expanded.


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