The costs of global tariff barriers on wool products: 1997–2005


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The Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations commits World Trade Organization (WTO) members to improving market access for both agricultural and nonagricultural goods. Tariff barriers on wool products represent a small but important subset of these negotiations. To inform the debate on the round, we analyze the distortionary effects of recent (1997–2005) tariff barriers on wool products using a model that applies a comprehensive analytical approach with regard to the production, trade, and consumption of wool products. We also account for any indirect effects of wool tariff barriers on the nonwool economy by incorporating the production, trade, and consumption of nonwool products, that is, the framework is a comparative-static global general equilibrium model with a detailed representation of the world wool market. Changes in wool tariffs over 1997–2005 lead to positive welfare effects for most regions; Italy, China, and the UK are estimated to have gained the most from the changes. The results indicate that the nature of recent wool tariffs severely distort the size of wool industries in different regions. The changes in the output of wool commodities are extreme reflecting the discriminatory nature of the tariffs.