• F01;
  • F10;
  • F13;
  • Q17;
  • Q18
  • agricultural processed products;
  • cocoa;
  • coffee;
  • developing countries;
  • non-tariff barriers;
  • tariff escalation;
  • tea;
  • tropical beverages;
  • value addition


The article uses the case study of coffee, tea and cocoa to analyse whether tariff escalation constitutes a barrier to market access that thwarts diversification efforts of developing countries into exports of value-added agricultural processed products. It also examines the extent to which non-tariff barriers act as market access barriers that constrain developing countries from developing their exports of agricultural processed products. Our analysis shows that tariff escalation is not the main barrier; rather it is the prevalence of non-tariff barriers (including domestic non-tariff barriers) that limits the ability of developing countries to increase their agricultural processed exports. This has important policy implications in terms of the emphasis that trade negotiators and policy planners should place on addressing non-tariff barriers.