"Development Box" And Special And Differential Treatment For Food Security Of Developing Countries: Potentials, Limitations And Implementation Issues
At the Ministerial Conference in Doha, WTO member countries acknowledged the need to further correct the prevailing restrictions and distortions in agricultural world markets. The Ministerial Declaration of Doha reaffirms the commitment of creating a fair agricultural trading system that will recognize the special needs of developing countries and foster their full integration and participation in agricultural world trade. It has been widely discussed who the winners and losers of further trade liberalization may be, considering particular country groups such as the Cairns Group or the group of Net Food Importing Developing Countries. Although many developing countries may gain from both increased access to OECD markets and the elimination of own trade barriers, the most vulnerable economies within the international trading system are likely to be left behind. Therefore, it has been argued that the current WTO negotiations have to be held under the motto of a "development round" and multiple proposals have been made towards the creation of a Development Box. In this context, our paper emphasizes the heterogeneity of developing countries as a group and the regional diversity within particular economies and puts a special focus on people rather than countries. We suggest a conceptual design of a potential Development and Food Security Box within the WTO Agreement on Agriculture that would address the most pressing issues of hunger and poverty in food-insecure, low-income countries/regions. We also suggest conceptual measures to further integrate the poorest of the poor into the existing trading system and to stimulate their economic development. Finally, we make a first attempt to identify possible actors as well as financing and implementation mechanisms for a viable Development Box that would reach beyond conventional Green Box and Special and Differential Treatment measures. We conclude that direct action for food security remains necessary. The complementary potentials of trade, finance, and political reform, and the multiplicity of instruments needed for sustainable development, including food security, are to be utilized. A rule-based Development Box that is complementary to trade liberalization in the long run is called for.
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