Posted by: mulrickillion | September 6, 2011

WTO | News – Speech – DG Pascal Lamy – Trade is vital for food security, Lamy tells agricultural economists

WTO NEWS: SPEECHES — DG PASCAL LAMY

30 August 2011

Trade is vital for food security, Lamy tells agricultural economists

The world still lacks coherent international and domestic agricultural policies to deal with food security and the double-edged sword of higher prices, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy told a congress of agricultural economists in Zurich on 30 August 2011. This is what he said:

International Trade — A Vital Component of the Food Security Picture
Opening Address by Mr Pascal Lamy at the XIIIth Congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here with you today for the XIIIth Congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists. This Congress could not be more timely. It comes in the wake of repeated “food price crises,” with the World Bank Food Price index showing a 33% rise in July from a year-ago, and staying close to 2008 peak levels. Price rises have been particularly high for maize, corn, and sugar. Stocks at the international level are also at record low levels. While the rise in food prices can be beneficial to farmers, it endangers the food security of many vulnerable consumers. In fact, the rise in food prices has been an important factor in the social unrest that we have witnessed in some quarters of the globe recently.

Many factors have been cited as the cause of these repeated crises, some long-term structural factors, and others short-term, such as: biofuels, rising oil prices, changing Asian diets, declining grain stocks, financial speculation, and climate change and its associated risk. Some would add that food export bans have themselves been the cause of the price hike, in particular for certain commodities such as rice. And we could debate at great length what is a “structural” phenomenon and what is merely “cyclical.” For example, biofuels policies, in particular the production of biofuels from feedstock that do not lead to significant greenhouse-gas savings, are being put into question. Will these policies persist, or will they be abandoned in future? An open question.

As you will be debating various aspects of food and agricultural policy throughout this Congress, probably looking at the repeated food crises in the process, my goal will be to provide you with the broader trade policy context. In my opinion, the world still has a long way to go in designing a coherent international agricultural trade policy framework. This has been visible in the Doha Round of trade talks. International trade, if properly instrumentalized, though should help us exit these repeated crises. And, to my mind, the Doha Round remains an opportunity for vital agricultural reform. . . .

WTO | News – Speech – DG Pascal Lamy – Trade is vital for food security, Lamy tells agricultural economists


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