Australia’s agriculture would be among the most dependent on export markets in the world for its
continuing prosperity. But barriers to trade constrain that prosperity. The Doha round of trade talks is
aimed at lowering those barriers. But negotiators in countries that want to maintain their protective
regimes often resort to complicated mechanisms to lower trade barriers so they can confuse and
conceal the lack of any real progress towards trade reform.
This paper exposes the mechanics behind the proposal for cutting agricultural trade barriers advanced
at the WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancun in September 2003. It shows how it would be all too easy
to avoid having to make cuts to border protection by countries wanting to preserve the status quo.
That would not have been in Australia’s interests.