The WTO and Food Security: What's Wrong with the Rules?
THE CHALLENGE OF FOOD SECURITY: INTERNATIONAL POLICY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS, pp. 149-167, Rosemary Rayfuse, Nicole Weisfelt, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012
Posted: 6 Dec 2012
Date Written: November 5, 2012
The WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is the predominant multilateral legal framework governing agricultural trade. The objective of the AoA is to liberalize trade in agriculture through reductions in tariffs, domestic support and export subsidies. The AoA has not, however, ‘leveled the playing field’ and has not resulted in the equitable distribution of food, particularly for the poorer developing countries. On the other hand, support for small farmers does not ensure food security for the poor. While food security has no simple solutions such as 'free trade is good for you', reform proposals for trade rules which only address agricultural policy instruments fail to account for consumer and other interests: neither tariff reductions and subsidy disciplines, nor safeguards and other measures of producer protection can automatically increase food security. Rather, what is needed is the full and proper implementation of a number of commitments which the international community has already entered into in various human rights treaties, but which even the envisaged results of the now failed Doha Round negotiations could not ensure without revisiting relevant multilateral trade and investment rules.
Keywords: food security, trade, agriculture, doha round
JEL Classification: E22, F02, F42, K33, N50, Q17, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation