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WTO Rules and Food Crisis in
  the Least-developed Countries

 Policy Reflection Co-organised by the LDC Group
in the WTO with CSEND Trade Policy Governance
           Group & Diplomacy Dialogue

       Introduction by Christian Häberli, Ph.D.
             World Trade Institute (Bern)
               17 July 2008 (Geneva)
Cyclical and Structural Causes of the
    present food crisis coincide
Cyclical causes:             Structural developments:
 droughts and floods         Demography
 low stocks                  Tigers eat meat
 currency fluctuations        (China, India etc.)
 export restrictions         Oil barrels at $150
 speculation (?)             (Subsidised) Biofuel
                              Water shortages
                              Climate change

                          080717 CSEND Christian Häberli   2
Double impact on NFIDCs
The end of cheap food (international food aid,
  export subsidies and price support in rich
  countries are down) :
• Hunger strikes millions without purchasing power
• Urban poor without means to satisfy other
  essential needs (health, housing, schools)
☝good news for poor farmers?
• Rural poor without means and incentives to
  produce more
☛ no surprise:
   WFP warnings of more famines
   ICRC warnings of more wars
                         080717 CSEND Christian Häberli   3
Everybody is responsible
• IBRD now warning 33 governments may fall and
  calling for $500m in food aid – but only 2 years
  ago discovered agriculture as a worthwhile area of
  investment
• FAO focus on summits?
• G8/OECD promising aid but no end to decade-
  long market distortions hurting poor farmers
• Many NFIDCs enjoyed cheap food at the expense
  of their farmers or even taxing exports
• Some exporters restrict exports for their own
  food security
                          080717 CSEND Christian Häberli   4
WTO: Politics vs. Economics
Global vs. national welfare and „policy space“:
• Trade liberalisation increases food security –
  overall but not at home
• Shifts from Amber to Blue and Green will not
  increase food security
• Refusal to bind present zero import duties; G33
  needs Special Products for food security
• Refusal to lift export taxes and restrictions (small
  revision GATT-Art.XI:2 in Falconer modalities)

                           080717 CSEND Christian Häberli   5
Outlook
World food production for > 7bn meat eaters needs
  more
• production investment and technologies
• trade liberalisation and regulation including
  prohibition of taxpayer support to staple food
• regional food security stocks financed by rich
  importing countries
• genuine food aid financed by food+oil price gains
☛ The whole WTO Membership must stand up
  to all these challenges!

                         080717 CSEND Christian Häberli   6
Note: This publication has been made available by CSEND with the agrement of the author.




                        The Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND) aims at
promoting equitable, sustainable and integrated development through dialogue and
institutional learning.

http://www.csend.org/programmes-a-services
http://www.csend.org/about-csend
http://www.csend.org/project-samples
http://www.csend.org/csend-group
http://www.csend.org/knowledge-area
http://www.csend.org/csend-portraits
http://www.csend.org/community-of-artists




Diplomacy Dialogue is a branch of the Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development
(CSEND), a non-profit R&D organization based in Geneva, Switzerland since 1993.

http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/mission
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/about-us
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/projects
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/publications
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/conferences
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/dialogue-forum
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/partners
http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/links
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20080717 session 1 trade rules a problem haeberli

  • 1. WTO Rules and Food Crisis in the Least-developed Countries Policy Reflection Co-organised by the LDC Group in the WTO with CSEND Trade Policy Governance Group & Diplomacy Dialogue Introduction by Christian Häberli, Ph.D. World Trade Institute (Bern) 17 July 2008 (Geneva)
  • 2. Cyclical and Structural Causes of the present food crisis coincide Cyclical causes: Structural developments:  droughts and floods  Demography  low stocks  Tigers eat meat  currency fluctuations (China, India etc.)  export restrictions  Oil barrels at $150  speculation (?)  (Subsidised) Biofuel  Water shortages  Climate change 080717 CSEND Christian Häberli 2
  • 3. Double impact on NFIDCs The end of cheap food (international food aid, export subsidies and price support in rich countries are down) : • Hunger strikes millions without purchasing power • Urban poor without means to satisfy other essential needs (health, housing, schools) ☝good news for poor farmers? • Rural poor without means and incentives to produce more ☛ no surprise: WFP warnings of more famines ICRC warnings of more wars 080717 CSEND Christian Häberli 3
  • 4. Everybody is responsible • IBRD now warning 33 governments may fall and calling for $500m in food aid – but only 2 years ago discovered agriculture as a worthwhile area of investment • FAO focus on summits? • G8/OECD promising aid but no end to decade- long market distortions hurting poor farmers • Many NFIDCs enjoyed cheap food at the expense of their farmers or even taxing exports • Some exporters restrict exports for their own food security 080717 CSEND Christian Häberli 4
  • 5. WTO: Politics vs. Economics Global vs. national welfare and „policy space“: • Trade liberalisation increases food security – overall but not at home • Shifts from Amber to Blue and Green will not increase food security • Refusal to bind present zero import duties; G33 needs Special Products for food security • Refusal to lift export taxes and restrictions (small revision GATT-Art.XI:2 in Falconer modalities) 080717 CSEND Christian Häberli 5
  • 6. Outlook World food production for > 7bn meat eaters needs more • production investment and technologies • trade liberalisation and regulation including prohibition of taxpayer support to staple food • regional food security stocks financed by rich importing countries • genuine food aid financed by food+oil price gains ☛ The whole WTO Membership must stand up to all these challenges! 080717 CSEND Christian Häberli 6
  • 7. Note: This publication has been made available by CSEND with the agrement of the author. The Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND) aims at promoting equitable, sustainable and integrated development through dialogue and institutional learning. http://www.csend.org/programmes-a-services http://www.csend.org/about-csend http://www.csend.org/project-samples http://www.csend.org/csend-group http://www.csend.org/knowledge-area http://www.csend.org/csend-portraits http://www.csend.org/community-of-artists Diplomacy Dialogue is a branch of the Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND), a non-profit R&D organization based in Geneva, Switzerland since 1993. http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/mission http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/about-us http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/projects http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/publications http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/conferences http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/dialogue-forum http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/partners http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/links http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/contact http://www.diplomacydialogue.org/sitemap