Quantitative analysis using the UNCTAD/FAO ATPSM model suggests that the removal of export subsidies would raise world prices. The major beneficiaries would be EU taxpayers and developing country producers. Since consumers in developing countries probably face higher prices the welfare effects are ambiguous, but most likely only during an initial period until domestic supply capacities can catch up in many of these developing countries. This is because many of them are net importers of wheat, dairy products and beef, and the cheap subsidies imports hinder the production of these products and of substitutes. Although the benefits to some of preferential access to the EU sugar market would also likely be reduced if export subsidy reform led to the reduction of EU domestic sugar prices, increasing world market prices are likely to more than offset the losses. The analysis also points to diverse results regarding specific products for producers and consumers in most countries. This suggests that while longer-term reforms of export subsidies are desirable, the immediate removal of export subsidies is likely to cause some hardships for some developing country consumers, which will need to be addressed with appropriate support mechanisms.
Ralf H. Peters
Political Institutions: International Institutions eJournal