International Agricultural Trade and Negotiations : Coping with a New Landscape

SourceFOODSECURE working paper no. 8. Tha Hague: LEI Wageningen UR
Author(s)Jean-Christophe Bureau; Sébastien Jean
Scheduled date2013-03-15
AbstractTrade is a key element in food security but international cooperation is necessary for trade to help coping with supply shocks, to spread variations in crop yield and to dampen price volatility. While multilateral trade agreements have provided the foundations for a rule-based system, multilateralism has stalled. New economic and political conditions, in particular the new weight of emerging countries, have complicated the negotiations of a Doha agreement under the WTO. Agriculture plays a special role in the global negotiating game. Developed countries have given up many of their bargaining chips in the previous rounds of negotiation and concessions in agriculture are not sufficient for extracting concessions from emerging countries on services, procurement, and intellectual property that would make a multilateral agreement possible. Non-cooperative policies such as export restrictions are gaining momentum and distorting support is on the rise in emerging countries. With the development of bilateral agreements, there is a genuine risk of a more fragmented trading system that is unable to help coping with food insecurity. A series of research issues are listed that may help to revitalize the Doha negotiation agenda.
KeywordsInternational trade, Doha agreement, WTO, agricultural policies.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 290693