Legal challenges for developing countries exports of agricultural food products to the EU

  • Vanessa LaForce

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis critically examines the increasing complexity and diversity of market access issues for agricultural food products from developing countries (DCs) to the European Union (EU). Agriculture is the sector which receives the most protection from the EU and the trade-distorting measures, employed by the EU to protect its own agricultural market, affect opportunities for DCs in agricultural food trade. These measures are also opposed to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) objective of a “fairer and more open multilateral trading system” between the WTO member countries.

The EU post-colonial history with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has also influenced the rules enforced by the EU for the import of certain agricultural commodities. However this relationship, as well as the operation of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, has been subject to a number of sustained attacks as a result of WTO commitments. Therefore, this thesis will conduct an examination of the EU’s legal obligations under the WTO and their impact on agricultural food trade.

The continuing change in EU market access conditions, subject to the legal trade rules established by the WTO, requires an in-depth analysis in order to inform DCs as to how to adapt to these changes as they take place. In this context, the thesis examines the legal trade relationship to date between the EU and the Caribbean region of the ACP Group, which has been selected as the case study, within the “Fortress Europe” of agriculture. Two commodities, sugar and bananas, will be given particular attention in the thesis because of their high sensitivity in agricultural trade and the level of contention that these provoke between the EU and DCs in international trade disputes. This is evidenced by the number of cases and the length of disputes brought within the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the WTO. As these commodities are of crucial importance to particular DCs, the thesis focuses its analysis on the perspective and experience of two developing Caribbean countries in particular, Guyana and Jamaica.
Date of AwardApr 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMaria O'Neill (Supervisor)

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