Did the least developed countries benefit from duty-free quota-free access to the Japanese market?

Discussion Papers


by Tadashi Ito, Takahide Aoyagi

December 2012

Revised September 2017


Countries classified as least developed countries (LDCs) were granted duty-free quota-free (DFQF) access to the Japanese market. This study examines the impact of that access and finds that, in general, it benefited the LDCs. The construction of concordance tables for Japan's 9-digit tariff line codes over 19 years enables analyses at the tariff line level, which overcomes a possible aggregation bias. The exogenous nature of DFQF access mitigates the endogeneity problem. The triple difference estimator shows that in general the LDCs benefited from DFQF access to the Japanese market. Tariff lines which were granted zero tariffs and substantial preference margins over other countries resulted in successful import into the Japanese market.

Keywords: LDCs, Japan, Tariff liberalisation, Duty-free quota-free access, WTO Doha Round
JEL classification: F13, F14

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