There has been a great deal of public discussion over the impact that agricultural trade liberalization would likely have, especially on low-income countries. Unfortunately, the public discussion has been characterized by a number of misconceptions. This paper provides a clarifying discussion of the issues involved. Among the key points addressed are 1) agricultural "subsidies" are not nearly as large as has been portrayed; 2) tariffs are actually far more distortionary than subsidies and some low-income countries actually benefit from rich country subsides; and 3) widespread tariff reductions will not inflict large damage on developing countries as a result of preference erosion. The case for removing agricultural trade barriers remains compelling, even without the exaggerations and misconceptions.
"Dispelling Some Misconceptions about Agricultural Trade Liberalization."
Journal of Economic Perspectives,