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Nicoletta Batini
France is the top agricultural producer in the European Union (EU), and agriculture plays a prominent role in the country’s foreign trade and intermediate exchanges. Reflecting production volumes and methods, the sector, however, also generates significant negative environmental and public health externalities. Recent model simulations show that a well-designed shift in production and consumption to make the former sustainable and align the latter with recommended values can curb these considerably and generate large macroeconomic gains. I propose a policy toolkit in line with the government’s existing sectoral policies that can support this transition.
Mr. Rabah Arezki, Mr. Christian Bogmans, and Mr. Harris Selod
This paper is the first to provide both theoretical and empirical evidence of farmland globalization whereby international investors directly acquire large tracts of agricultural land in other countries. A theoretical framework explains the geography of farmland acquisitions as a function of cross-country differences in technology, endowments, trade costs, and land governance. An empirical test of the model using global data on transnational deals shows that international farmland investments are on the aggregate likely motivated by re-exports to investor countries rather than to world markets. This contrasts with traditional foreign direct investment patterns where horizontal as opposed to vertical FDI dominates.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The number of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso has increased, but the government’s contribution remains in line with earlier estimates. Growth for 2012 has been revised upward to 8 percent. The overall fiscal deficit is significantly lower than anticipated. The current account is expected to improve next year. There is significant improvement in revenue collection. The authorities are stepping up efforts to improve resilience to shocks. Efforts are under way to improve debt management capacity. The mining taxation regime needs to rebalance the interests of investors.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Japan illustrates the impact of fiscal and structural reforms on the Japanese and world economies. Japan faces a sizable fiscal deficit, against a backdrop of weak trend growth and growing imbalances in the world economy. Moreover, upward pressure on health care and social security spending owing to an aging population will add significantly to strains on public resources in the near future. The Japanese government is taking a range of measures aimed at raising productivity growth and stabilizing the public debt in relation to GDP over the medium term.
Mr. Claudio A Paiva
This paper provides the first comprehensive empirical analysis of agricultural trade using a gravity model. The data set covers bilateral trade in agricultural goods for 152 countries over the periods 1990-93 and 1999-2002. The estimations support claims that protectionism and distortive subsidies to agriculture remain widespread in more developed nations, which are shown to import less and export more agricultural products than expected given other economic, political, and geographic determinants of trade. However, some developing regions that are often thought to be the main victims of industrial-country protectionism are also found to be relatively closed to agricultural trade.
International Monetary Fund
This paper analyses the economic costs of current agricultural policies in Turkmenistan. It argues that the opportunity cost of continuing with these policies is very high for the budget, the average farmer, and the economy as a whole. The paper calls for the development of nontraditional agricultural crops, which are more profitable than wheat and cotton in the international commodity markets, and a comprehensive and sustained reform strategy for the agricultural sector.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper reviews major issues and developments in the trade area and outlines the challenges governments face as they seek to liberalize trade in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and address new trade issues. In industrial countries, the reorientation of policies was most apparent in steps taken to liberalize financial markets and foreign direct investment, privatize public enterprises, and deregulate services, particularly in the transportation and communication sectors. Among developing countries, a growing number recognized the merits of outward, market-oriented policies and took steps to liberalize their trade regimes and open their economies to international competition. By and large, the increased focus on market principles in industrial countries did not carry over to trade and industrial policies or, most notable, to the agricultural sector. Despite strong growth performance in 1983–1989, little progress was made in rolling back the protective barriers that had risen during the preceding recessionary period; protection persists in agriculture and declining sectors and has spread to newer high-tech areas.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This chapter discusses principles and consequences of the common agricultural policy (CAP) of the European Community (EC). It shows that agricultural pricing policies aimed at supporting farm incomes were already in place in EC member countries before the inception of the CAP; indeed, in the presence of these policies, the CAP was a logical consequence of the extension of the common market to the agricultural sector. Thus, the flaws of the CAP can be traced back to national policies and attitudes toward agriculture. Recognition of the burden of agricultural support on the rest of the economy, as well as the growing budgetary costs, has elicited a greater public interest in the CAP. Equally, the trade frictions caused by export subsidies have underlined the CAP's international implications. For these reasons, the member states appear more determined than hitherto to bring agricultural expenditure under control. Given the wider effects of the CAP both on EC economies and the international community, it is to be hoped that current efforts at reform will be successful.

International Monetary Fund
This paper examines the recent difficulties experienced in U.S. agriculture, and discusses the role played by government policies, in particular reviewing recent developments in those policies. Studies of the extent and costs of agricultural protection in the United States and other major countries are surveyed and possible effects of multilateral reform of agricultural policies are discussed.
International Monetary Fund
The study reveals agricultural import restrictions are widely applied in Asia, but that Japan and Korea impose lower average tariffs and nontariff barriers with less frequency than most Asian countries. It also finds several low and middle-income countries enforce relatively low protection for basic foodstuffs, while high-income countries tend to impose relatively high protection for foods. Finally, commodity patterns of trade and protection suggest scope exists for successful reciprocal negotiations to liberalize agricultural trade mainly between low and middle-income Asian countries. Though similar gains might be achieved by unilateral liberalization, reciprocal negotiations are more feasible politically and, on a most-favored-nation basis, would imply greater trade expansion.