SLI-Report 2000:2

Agricultural tariffs – an analysis of the tariff structure prior to the WTO Doha Development Round

Authors: Tina Trollås 

The report reviews the post-Uruguay market access situation in agricultural markets and investigates the implications of various tariff cutting formulas. Agricultural tariffs are in general higher than tariffs for industrial commodities, high tariff peaks are common, and there is an extensive amount of “water” in the system, meaning that the applied tariff level is lower than the bound tariff rate. In this report, a set of representative products are analysed (beef, pork meat, sheep meat, poultry meat, skimmed milk powder, butter, eggs, wheat, rice, soya beans, grain maize, rape seed and sugar) for the EU, the US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea and India. Four different tariff reduction scenarios are applied, a linear cut in line with the Uruguay Round approach, a cut based on the Swiss formula – a harmonizing formula in which higher tariffs are reduced more than low tariffs, and two different “cocktail” approaches, which are mixes of the linear approach and the Swiss formula approach. It is shown that tariff reductions similar to those in the Uruguay Round are not sufficient to significantly reduce the water in the tariff lines – that means that there will be few reductions in agricultural tariffs currently applied. It is only in the most protectionist countries, Japan, Norway and Switzerland, that the reductions will bind tariffs at lower rates than those levels currently applied.


Tina Trollås