Developing countries

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A country with a low per capita income. Terms such as less developed country, least developed country, underdeveloped country, poor, and southern have been used to describe developing countries. The Agricultural Trade Development Assistance Act of 1954 (P.L. 480) defines developing country, for purposes of receiving U.S. food aid, as "a country that has a shortage of foreign exchange earnings and has difficulty meeting all of its food needs through commercial channels" [Section 402(4), 7. U.S.C. 1732]. Under the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, the World Trade Organization (WTO) accords longer periods of time to developing than to developed countries to phase in required reductions in tariffs, export subsidies, and trade-distorting domestic support. The WTO allows considerable latitude to countries to designate themselves as developing for purposes of phasing in WTO obligations. However, a country’s status as developed or developing can become an issue if a country is applying for membership in the WTO. China, for example, a candidate for WTO membership, has argued that it should be considered a developing country and given longer periods of time to implement WTO rules and disciplines. The United States, the European Union, Japan, and other current WTO developed country members have argued that China is too important a presence in world agriculture to be admitted to the WTO as a developing country.

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