27 October 2004


A generally open trade regime, but further agriculture liberalization would promote world trade

The European Communities (EC) has a generally liberal regime for non-agricultural products and has granted market access to developing countries under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme or the Cotonu Agreement, and to LDCs under the “everything but arms” (EBA) initiative, according to a report on the trade policies and practices of the EC released by the WTO Secretariat.

However, further liberalization of the EC’s agriculture, notably through simplification of its tariff structure and reduction of duty rates, as well as the downsizing of the levels of support, would substantially contribute to the promotion of world trade.

The report notes that despite the continued decoupling of payments from production, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) falls short of liberalizing EC’s agriculture. Moreover, the report identifies certain areas where further harmonization within the EC may be needed; these include internal tax rates, some services, and customs procedures.

The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the Government, will be the basis for the Trade Policy Review (TPR) by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO.

The following documents are available in MS Word format.


Note  back to top

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Genève 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.


Schedule of forthcoming reviews  back to top

Brazil : 29 November and 1 December 2004
Switzerland/Liechtenstein : 15 and 17 December 2004
Jamaica : 17 and 19 January 2005