MJIEL Vol 5 Issue 2 2008 - Article 2

Abstract: The article sets out to use a set of selected bench­marks to pick products that can be designated as Special Products (SP) in the context of the agricultural negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which would also technically be relevant for the agricultural negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). Tanzania, which is both a Least Developed Country (LDC) and member of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of nations, is used as a case in point. Implicitly, this means that the concept of SP can be extended to cover LDCs. The SP are identified through the analysis of the significance of various products in Tanzania’s agri­cultural production and trade, coupled with the vulnerability of domestic production to imports. In total, 46 tariff lines are recommended for inclusion in the SP list. The author demonstrates that the SP, which technically embraces products that are potentially important for defensive interests, covers largely what he denotes as products of ‘universal’ significance (due to their essentiality for broad socio-economic significance, livelihood security, food security, and rural development). Most products with these saliencies are in fact not exported. Accordingly, he recommends that such products be protected through the proposed Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM). Moreover, he argues that sustainable competitiveness requires building hard- and soft-infra­struc­ture, so as to ensure diversification of economic production activities, increase in agricultural productivity, and building of domestic capacity for value adding.

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