The Case For Continued Agricultural Trade Liberalization

1403 Words Sep 6th, 2016 6 Pages
The Case for Continued Agricultural Trade Liberalization
Alan Blinder once wrote, “Economists have the least influence on policy where they know the most and are most agreed; they have the most influence on policy where they know the least and disagree most vehemently” (1987, p.1). This maxim is certainly true when the subject in question is free trade. Despite near unanimity among economists as to the benefits of free trade, the general public remains skeptical and politicians regularly play to voters’ fear about the dangers of trade to garner support (Mankiw, 2015).
Nowhere have protectionist tendencies been more evident than in agriculture. Across developed nations, trade barriers for agricultural commodities remain higher than those for manufactured goods. For example, the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimates that on average the U.S. imposes tariffs of 4.72% on agricultural products as opposed to 3.56% on non-agricultural imports (Tariff Analysis Database, n.d.). While these tariffs are lower than those of many other developed nations, the U.S. also provide significant subsidies to agricultural producers that tend distort international markets. In the author’s opinion, the U.S. and its trading partners should pursue further agricultural trade liberalization. This position is developed in the following paragraphs. First, the economic principles favoring free trade are presented. Next, opposing arguments are considered. Finally, the paper concludes by recommending that…
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