The failure to open a new round of multilateral trade negotiations at the 1999 WTO conference in Seattle was a setback for the international trading system. Such large-scale multilateral negotiations are particularly important because they provide countries with the opportunity to obtain visible benefits for their exporters from the opening of markets by other countries. This perspective provides more incentives for countries to open their own markets and overcome the resistance of entrenched, protected interests. In this way, the trade liberalisation packages that are under way for these negotiations will ensure that they benefit all participating countries. Industrialised countries enjoy high agricultural protection through a series of very high tariffs, including tariff peaks (tariffs above 15%), escalation of tariffs (tariffs that increase with the level of processing) and restrictive tariff quotas (limiting the amount that can be imported at a lower tariff rate). Average customs protection in agriculture is about nine times higher than in manufacturing. In addition, agricultural subsidies in industrialized countries, which account for two bites of Africa`s total GDP, are undermining the agricultural sectors and exports of developing countries by lowering world prices and anticipating markets. For example, the European Commission spends 2.7 billion euros a year to make sugar profitable for European farmers, while excluding low-priced imports of tropical sugar. A new round of negotiations would increase global growth prospects and strengthen the international trading system. The IMF considers the success of the round of trade negotiations to be an important step towards achieving the goal of globalization`s success for the good of all.
Improving market access for the poorest developing countries would give them the means to use trade for development and the fight against poverty. Giving the poorest countries duty-free and quota-free access to global markets would have little cost to the rest of the world. Recent market opening initiatives in the EU and some other countries are important in this regard.10 To be absolutely effective, this access should be sustainable, extended to all products and accompanied by simple and transparent rules of origin. This would give the poorest countries the confidence to stick to difficult internal reforms and ensure effective use of debt relief and aid flows. While access to markets in other countries is advantageous, it is the countries that benefit the most from the liberalization of their own markets. The main benefits for industrialized countries would come from the liberalization of their agricultural markets. Developing countries would benefit roughly equally from the liberalization of manufacturing and agriculture. However, the group of low-income countries would benefit most from agricultural liberalization in industrialized countries because of the increased relative importance of agriculture in its economies. The agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Korea came into force in 2007. It provides that Korea removes more than 76% of its tariffs on imports from ASEAN and that ASEAN members remove between 85 and 100 per cent of their tariffs on imports from Korea.
The agreement also contains provisions on rules of origin, guarantees and transparency. The Trade in Services Agreement was reviewed in 2018 by the Regional Trade Agreements Committee. These considerations suggest the need for further trade.