The WTO and Food Security: What’s Wrong with the Rules?

Häberli, Christian (2012). The WTO and Food Security: What’s Wrong with the Rules? In: Rayfuse, Rosemary; Weisfelt, Nicole (eds.) The Challenge of Food Security. International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks (pp. 149-167). Cheltenham,UK+Northampton, MA,USA: Edward Elgar

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The WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is the predominant multilateral legal framework governing agricultural trade. The objective of the AoA is to liberalise trade in agriculture through reductions in tariffs, domestic support and export subsidies. The AoA has not, however, ‘levelled the playing field’ and has not resulted in the equitable distribution of food, particularly for the poorer developing countries. On the other hand, support for small farmers does not ensure food security for the poor. While food security has no simple solutions such as “free trade is good for you”, reform proposals for trade rules which only address agricultural policy instruments fail to account for consumer and other interests: neither tariff reductions and subsidy disciplines, nor safeguards and other measures of producer protection can automatically increase food security. Rather, what is needed is the full and proper implementation of a number of commitments which the international community has already entered into in various human rights treaties, but which even the envisaged results of the now failed Doha Round negotiations could not ensure without revisiting relevant multilateral trade and investment rules.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Häberli, Christian


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation


978 0 85793 938 8


Edward Elgar




Christian Häberli

Date Deposited:

22 Jul 2014 13:56

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:24

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