Seven reasons why the Doha round will not solve the food crisis

Seven reasons why the Doha round will not solve the food crisis

Sevens reasons why the Doha round will not solve the food crisis

Leaders of the world’s trade and financial institutions - the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - are pushing for the completion of the WTO’s Doha Round of trade agreements as a way to solve the current food crisis.

This paper argues that these institutions are wrong and gives seven reasons as to why the Doha Round will not solve the food crisis. It is asserted that the Doha Round will:

  • increase dependence of poor countries on food imports
  • increase volatility of food and agriculture prices
  • strengthen the power of transnational agribusiness
  • not discipline financial speculation
  • not address the environmental crisis/climate change
  • not reduce oil prices
  • not regulate international trade in biofuels

The paper then moves on to provide three concrete steps trade policy-makers should take to help ensure people around the world get the food they need. These are:

  • review the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and Doha mandate: governments must be allowed to implement policies that strengthen domestic food and agricultural systems. Multilateral trade rules should prevent harm to other countries’ food security and livelihoods
  • address volatility in food and agricultural prices: governments need to re-establish public stocks at national and regional levels to provide a buffer against price volatility and food insecurity
  • create global competition rules: international trade rules can no longer ignore the distorting levels of market power held by a few transnational companies in global commodity and food markets, it is time to discipline the market power of agribusiness companies.

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