South Centre Report, 14 November 2013

The WTO’s Bali Ministerial and Food Security for Developing Countries: Need for equity and justice in the rules on agricultural subsidies

Food security in developing countries is a major issue in the WTO’s negotiations towards the Bali Ministerial Conference in December.  A report drawn from meetings of trade expert group meetings organised by the South Centre has pointed to the importance of public stockholding for food security in developing countries, and some of the imbalances in the present rules on agricultural subsidies in the WTO.  It calls for for reform to these rules  to enable developing countries’ governments to purchase food from farmers for the purpose of public stockholding, with this being placed in the WTO’s ‘Green Box’ of agricultural subsidies, without the unfair conditions in the present rules.

The report reflects the views of several eminent experts of developing counties who are knowledgeable about the WTO rules and negotiations.   Among the experts are Rubens Ricupero (former Secretary General of UNCTAD), S. Narayanan (former Ambassador of India to the WTO), Ali Mchumo (former Managing Director of the Common Fund for Commodities and former Ambassador of Tanzania to the WTO), Li Enheng (Vice Chairman, China Society for WTO Studies), Carlos Correa (Professor, University of Buenos Aires), Deepak Nayyar (Vice Chair, Board of South Centre, former Vice Chancellor of Delhi University and former Chief Economic Advisor to Government of India), Yilmaz Akyuz (Chief Economist, South Centre, former Director of UNCTAD’s Globalisation and Development Strategies Division) and Chakravarthi Raghavan (Chief Editor Emeritus of South-North Development Monitor).

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