Latin American Agricultural Trade: The Role of the WTO in Sustainable Virtual Water Flows
International agricultural trade has been growing significantly during the last decade. Many countries rely on imports to ensure adequate food supplies to the people. A few are becoming food baskets of the world. This process raises issues about the food security in depending countries and potentially unsustainable land and water use in exporting countries. In this paper, we analyse the impacts of amplified farm trade on natural resources, especially water. Farm exports and imports of five Latin America countries (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile) are examined carefully. A preliminary analysis indicates that virtual water imports can save valuable water resources in water-short countries, such as Mexico and Chile. Major exporting countries, including Brazil and Argentina, have become big exporters due to abundant natural resource endowments. The opportunity costs of agricultural production in those countries are identified as being low, because of the predominant green water use. It is concluded that virtual water trade can be a powerful tool to alleviate water stress in semi-arid countries. However, for exporting nations a sustainable water use can only be guaranteed if environmental production costs are fully reflected in the commodity prices. There is no basis for erecting environmental trade tariffs on exporters though. Setting up legal foundations for them in full compliance with WTOs processes would be a daunting task.
|Date of creation:||02 Sep 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.eaae.org|
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Yang, Hong & Wang, Lei & Zehnder, Alexander J.B., 2007. "Water scarcity and food trade in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5-6), pages 585-605.
- Bartolini, F. & Bazzani, G.M. & Gallerani, V. & Raggi, M. & Viaggi, D., 2007. "The impact of water and agriculture policy scenarios on irrigated farming systems in Italy: An analysis based on farm level multi-attribute linear programming models," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-3), pages 90-114, March.
- Aldaya, M.M. & Allan, J.A. & Hoekstra, A.Y., 2010. "Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 887-894, February.
- Ringler, Claudia & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Paisner, Michael S., 2000. "Irrigation and water resources in Latin America and the Caribbean: challenges and strategies," EPTD discussion papers 64, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Reimer, Jeffrey J. & Li, Man, 2010.
"Trade Costs and the Gains from Trade in Crop Agriculture,"
2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado
61169, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
- Jeffrey J. Reimer & Man Li, 2010. "Trade Costs and the Gains from Trade in Crop Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1024-1039.
- Wichelns, Dennis, 2004. "The policy relevance of virtual water can be enhanced by considering comparative advantages," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 49-63, April.
- Yang, Hong & Zehnder, Alexander J. B., 2002. "Water Scarcity and Food Import: A Case Study for Southern Mediterranean Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1413-1430, August.
- Eglin, Richard, 2001. "Keeping the "T" in the WTO: where to next on environment and labor standards?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 173-191, July.
- Maria Berrittella & Katrin Rehdanz & Roberto Roson & Richard S.J. Tol, 2006. "The Economic Impact Of Water Pricing: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," Working Papers FNU-96, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jan 2006.
- Hoekstra, Arjen, 2010. "The relation between international trade and freshwater scarcity," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2010-05, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:eaae11:114615. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.