World Trade Organization and its Implication for the Agricultural Sector of Less Developed

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Addis Ababa University


The World Trade Organization (WTO) which was established in 1995 is a landmark development in the history of international trade in agriculture. Before its establishment, trade in agriculture has been distorted and not liberalized. But due to the coming into effect of the Uruguay round Agreement on Agriculture (AOA), trade in agriculture has been fully liberalized. However, despite its establishment one could observe several drawbacks in fully realizing the benefit from being part of it. This is particularly so with the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) who have been caught between the need for developing their agricultural and industrial base on the one hand and unable to secure the benefits from their membership on the other hand. The central objective of the study, therefore, is to analyze the implications of WTO for the agricultural sector on selected less developed countries and to draw lessons for Ethiopia. The research was undertaken by raising some guiding questions such as Does membership to the WTO benefit the agricultural sector of LDCs? What lessons Ethiopia can learn from the experience of LDCs? To understand the extent to which membership in the WTO have implications for LDCs, the study employed qualitative approach. In order to do that, data from the experience of Nepal and Uganda has been gathered from primary and secondary sources and analyzed. The finding of the study reveals that under the existence of internal and external factors membership in the WTO could not benefit the agriculture sector of LDCs. Internally, lack of surplus products, diversification, infrastructure, quality product, technology and sufficient capital are the major factors that hinder the benefit of being a membership. Along with these, the study identified that there are external factors, like domestic support, export subsidy, tariff and non-tariff barriers which are practiced in developed countries that could affect the benefit of membership. The study concludes that Ethiopia which has the same agricultural context with other LDCs could face the same problem



International Relation