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22 CHAPTER 2


Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), summarized in Oliva (2000). These organizations rank Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia as more often restrictive than not, but the rank- ings differ among the studies.4 There is less consistency on Jordan and Syria, which appear restrictive in some studies (such as that of the IMF and Oliva’s own index in the case of Syria) and open in others (that of UNCTAD). Zarrouk and Zallio (2000) argue that industrial strategies founded on import substitu- tion and a large public sector have led to high protection in MENA countries and that governments have ended up relying on import duties as a main source of revenues. By contrast, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon are more open, with levels of protection in agriculture that are comparable to the average in developed countries.5


Table 2.7 identifies countries as protectors of agriculture if the ratio of the level of agricultural protection to industrial protection is at least 1.4. On aver- age, countries protect agriculture more than industry, and this is particularly notable for developed countries, which have low levels of industrial protection combined with high rates of protection of agriculture (Japan and Switzerland are the most illustrative). The MENA countries are protectors of agriculture on average: the level of their protection in agriculture is more than twice the industrial rate. Since the advent of structural adjustment programs and acces- sion to the WTO, which curtailed industrial protection, the average global tariff has decreased (WTO 2002), but agriculture protection has been reduced at a much slower pace. The exceptions are Djibouti, Egypt, and Syria, which have higher rates of protection in industry than in agriculture. Morocco and Tunisia have very high levels of agricultural protection, matched only by Switzerland among the OECD countries and India among the developing countries and more than double the average for the MENA region.


These results testify to the shift in protection by developing countries since the findings in Schiff and Valdes (1992), which illustrate the bias against agriculture emanating from agricultural sector policies (direct effects) and from industrial protection and macroeconomic policies (indirect effects) in 18 developing countries. Considering only the direct effects, the study esti- mated that taxation on agriculture was 25 percent in Egypt over the period 1964–84 and 15 percent in Morocco over the same period.6


4 These assessments do not take into account the substantial liberalization of trade policy in


Egypt in 2004, as discussed later. 5 In this aggregation, the beverages and tobacco sector is not included in agriculture. This classification matters in the case of Egypt, which has an AVE of 818 percent for beverages and


tobacco. 6 To maintain consistency in comparing the results of Schiff and Valdes (1992) and the MAcMap– HS6 database, we do not include the indirect effect of the tax on agriculture from the former study.


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