In This Review

Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor
Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor
By Kimberly Ann Elliot
International Institute of Economics, 2006, 160 pp

Pessimists see the future of the world trading system hinging on a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. A successful conclusion in turn depends largely -- but not exclusively -- on the adequacy of offers by the rich countries to reduce subsidies for and tariffs on agricultural products. This short book, offering a clear exposition of both the domestic and the international dimensions, is quite timely, especially since the U.S. agricultural support system is up for renewal in 2007. Agricultural policy is full of complicated and obscure details, mostly devoted to transferring money from consumers and taxpayers to farmers, but the big picture presented here is that the economic gains from liberalizing agricultural trade are large; most farm supports go to rich farmers or corporations, not to the proverbial family farm; and developing countries are highly diverse, so that whereas some, such as Brazil, can benefit significantly from liberalizing agricultural trade, others, and especially the poor buyers of food within them, will lose. A deal is ultimately achievable only if it reflects the complexities of agricultural policies both within and between countries.