Members of the World Trade Organization will be meeting next week in Buenos Aires to discuss the future of agricultural and other trade policies that could have important implications for food security and jobs in developing countries (eventually). And members of the US House and Senate agricultural committees will be meeting through next year to craft a new five-year farm bill that will help shape global markets and determine how much and how quickly US food aid can be delivered to people in desperate need around the world.
CGD Policy Blogs
With a decade since the beginning of the major food price spike in 2007, Ministers gathering at the WTO Ministerial in Buenos Aires this week can make a positive impact on people's lives—with an agreement that will reduce the likelihood and impacts of a food price spike.
The United States is a major player in global agricultural markets. American farmers account for around 25 percent of world exports of wheat and corn, and are also among the largest producers and exporters of beef, pork, and poultry. This success is partly the result of those farmers having access to abundant land, deep financial markets, and modern technologies. But as I explore in my new book, Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for U.S. Leadership, it is also the result of government policies that distort markets and undermine the provision of global public goods. The poor in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the negative spillovers of these policies.
In India, the price of onions is an election issue, so ubiquitous are they in the nation’s cooking. Regularly, around the world, poor consumers face extra hardship as the prices of basic foodstuffs seesaw. Global food security is an area CGD has worked on for many years, and back in mid-2008, we tried to help figure out a solution to the skyrocketing price of a major staple.
In the 2000s, Côte d’Ivoire plunged into a decade of political violence. In September 2002 the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire (FNCI), a coalition of three rebel movements, occupied the northern half of the national territory (Figure 1).
With the situation in Syria deteriorating every day, and conflict elsewhere displacing millions more from their homes and livelihoods, desperately needed food aid is falling short. Donor fatigue and budget constraints are a problem worldwide, but reform would allow the United States to help millions more people with the same food aid budget.
What does the 2016 election mean for America’s future position in the world? It’s likely too early to tell at this stage of the campaign cycle. Many of the early Republican contenders — such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — have been relatively quiet on foreign policy issues or have focused almost exclusively on Iran, Israel, and Russia. That’s to be expected at this point. Yet, other candidates — like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham — are already outlining a more comprehensive vision for advancing American interests.
Implementation of a global deal to promote trade through increased regulatory transparency and reform of customs procedures is stalled. The deadlock began in July, when India blocked formal adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which WTO members had agreed to in Bali at the end of 2013.
Several colleagues and I are still debating what we’ve learned about Fairtrade from the recent flurry of attention to the topic.