The impact of Syria’s accession to the WTO on agricultural sector
The paper reveals that Syria was one of the GATT’s establishing countries, but it withdrew due to political reasons. However, it submitted a request for WTO accession in 2001, and gained the “observer” position later, though the accession negotiations have not started yet.
Concerning agriculture, the document demonstrates the social importance of this sector in Syria, besides its significant economic contribution. Consequently, the state’s efforts have been concentrated on re-distributing agricultural support to serve the developmental policy and promote agricultural exports. Identically, Syria has been progressing towards gradual liberalisation of agricultural trade, avoiding the liberalisation of strategic crops.
Notable findings contain:
- from an agricultural point of view, the best scenario for Syria’s accession to the WTO would be protecting some important commodities,while using harmonised formula to reduce tariffs of other commodities
- these important commodities are wheat and meslin, barley,oil-cake and maize
- on contrary, using linear formulas to reduce tariffs is not recommended at any case
- some Arab countries would lose some of their market shares in Syria due to trade liberalisation, while Some EU states would gain extra markets for their products
- cigarettes are the most sensitive commodity in terms of tariff changes
- liberalising (but not zeroing) trade of cigarettes and banana, would not cause any custom revenue losses, and even it would bring in more custom revenues