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By van Jaarsfeld E.J., de Villiers P.U.

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A. Agricultural trade in South Asia The structural changes during the 1980s and 1990s placed non-agricultural sectors of the SAEs in the driving seat of economic growth. Nevertheless, the SAEs have also achieved a considerable growth in agriculture during the past few decades. Although the share of agriculture in national outputs has been declining, agriculture and agricultural trade still play a very important role in the SAEs (table 2). Agriculture contributes to about 26 per cent of the regional gross domestic product (GDP), (ranging from 21 per cent in Maldives to 41 per cent in Nepal).

20 C. Preferential trade and agriculture With regard to the coverage of goods liberalization, available empirical literature shows that most of the agreements focus on reducing or eliminating tariffs and other barriers to industrial goods or manufactures. In contrast, agricultural products tend to be included in the exemptions of the negative lists or excluded from the positive lists of tariff 20 For some comments on the content of provisions on these sectors, see Mikic (2007). 24 Table 6. Summary of treatments of selected sectors in preferential trade agreements in Asia and the Pacific Intellectual property protection Type of agreement Total FTA 19 a BTA Country-bloc 6b RTA 2 Other 1 28 (9) CU Other 16 (7) 1 1 Total FA Notified to 21 (8) WTO 17 (7) 2 (1) – 5 (3) – – 1 2 – – – 3 (1) 3 – 24 (10) Investment Type of agreement Total FTA BTA 23 c FA Other WTO 17 (4) 5 – 1 Country-bloc 6 2 4 – – 3 RTA 3 2 1 – – 1 Other 1 Total 33a (4) 17 (4) CU Notified to 21 (4) 1 – – 11 – 1 – 21 (4) Mobility of labour Type of agreement Total FTA FA CU Notified to Other WTO BTA 8 7 1 – – 7 Country-bloc 1 – 1 – – – RTA 2 1 1 – – – Other 1 1 – – – – Total 12 9 3 – – 7 Services Type of agreement Total FTA BTA FA Notified to CU Other WTO 18 17 1 – – 14 Country-bloc 3 2 1 – – 3 RTA 2 – 2 – – – Other 1 1 – – – – Total 24 20 4 – – 17 Source: Note: APTIAD and annex tables 2-5 in Mikic, 2007.

This approach is closer to the spirit of GATT, even though it may often include a long list of excluded products. 19 Another important factor is the determination of a base tariff rate as a benchmark for reduction. In most cases, the MFN-applied rates are used for this purpose (cf. Feridhanusetyawan, 2005, p. 16). In an effort to comply with WTO rules on regional agreements, most contain an intention to eliminate tariffs within what is considered a reasonable period. , APTA). Another interesting feature, and which supports previous claims about “made-to-measure” agreements, refers to asymmetrical reciprocity in tariff reduction even when there is no LDC involved.

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