The World Bank estimates that global free trade in all goods would add $287bn to world income each year, half of that going to poor countries. Sixty-three percent of that immediate gain would come from freeing agricultural trade alone. In African countries, nearly all of that 63% would come from removing their own import tariffs and quotas, which artificially restrict access to other markets, including their neighbours’.
High food prices are now a clear and immediate reason to cut tariffs, but that does not mean it will happen. For decades, protectionism has been imposed against the interests of local consumers because of an unholy coalition of Western activists and local vested interests.