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RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICIES AND NON TRADE CONCERNS: THE CASE OF ITALY

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Abstract

The set of policy tools that the EU puts under the heading of Rural Development is extremely heterogeneous and brings out the need to discuss the actual consistency of such tools with the EU position on NTCs in WTO negotiations. Examined in the present work are the Rural Development Plans (RDPs) and the Regional Operational Programmes (ROPs) recently approved by the European Commission for the Italian Regions. The analysis is of a purely qualitative type and is based on currently available information, that is, the measures and the relative project typologies approved within the Plans. Taking into account the EU position on NTCs and their relationship with multifunctionality, we look at the policy instruments for Rural Development applied in Italy with respect to their effects on production, production of externalities/non tradables and consistency with the EU position on NTCs. Financial allotment by measure typology is also examined. We found out that the present set of actions that fall under Rural Development is still dominated by a sectoral approach, even in the case of measures aimed at safeguarding the environment. Paradoxically, a modest share of financial resources are allocated to measures aimed at the promotion of rural development and training, that better respond to the NTC objectives.

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