The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and Developing Countries: the Struggle for Coherence

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Series Details Vol.30, No.3, July 2008, p381-400
Publication Date July 2008
ISSN 0703-6337
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Abstract: Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has long been criticized as an outstanding example of policy incoherence with development objectives. However, successive CAP reforms now mean that the distortions it generates on world markets are smaller than before, although they remain significant for individual commodities. This paper first examines whether the traditional criticism of the CAP as incoherent with the EU's proclaimed development objectives remains valid. It then asks how the CAP might be further reformed so as to make it still more coherent with the EU's development policy objectives. Improving the development coherence of EU agricultural policy requires more liberal market access for developing country agri-food exports than they currently enjoy. But it also requires that the EU put in place policies to protect and assist those developing countries which may not be able to take advantage of improved market access or which may lose out where lower trade barriers lead to preference erosion.

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