A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

The “Really Good Friends” of (their) agricultural activities within the WTO

February 16, 2015

“You can’t square a circle.” This is undoubtedly the saying best suited to the doggedness to give (new) life to the Doha Round, especially regarding agricultural issues.

Indeed, time is of the essence. WTO members want to establish, before the end of July, a “realistic and clear work program” around the Doha Round unresolved negotiation issues, with a view to the WTO Tenth Ministerial Conference to be held in December 2015 in Nairobi.

At the year’s first negotiation meeting on agriculture on January 28, the members looked at the figures concerning internal support, and started to think about “the compromises that could be made as a counterpart for ambitious reductions”.

This time, it is not India’s agricultural policy that was accused, but the United States agricultural subsidies, which, out of the six members examined (including the European Union), must be cut because they are considered as distortive. Yet, far from giving in, the United States stated that they would not make any change their policy, as long as emerging nations––such as India or China––would not do it. Lastly, the meeting reported no major advance regarding market access and public reserves. Suffice to say that the “compromises” wanted by the WTO to conclude the Doha Round are rather inconclusive at present time.

Observers and increasingly more numerous to admit it: the market liberalization strategy backed through thick and thin by the WTO for the past 20 years––earlier this year the organization celebrated its jubilee––is not the answer to current agricultural and food issues. Worse even, it is part of the problem facing nations to ensure their food security.

In addition, the increasing number of clashes on the WTO agricultural issues shows that the sole true agreement currently concerns the widespread skepticism regarding this strategy by major countries. Just resorting to the absolute virtues of the “invisible hand”, especially regarding agricultural issues, could lead to protectionist measures by some nations, which do not want to entrust their food security to global agricultural markets plagued by instability. This is apparent in some countries, such as India.

Finally, the US Congress’ adoption last year of a new Farm Bill that brilliantly ignores the WTO recommendations proves––if required by those who were still in doubt––that the world’s first agricultural power is not ready to sacrifice its agricultural interests to the benefit of a WTO agreement. And the United States is not the only one… or almost. If we compare the European Union to the other major agricultural powers––including the United States––we see that not only the EU does not truly support its agriculture, but has significant leeway at the WTO considering the current agreement in force.

A word to the wise...

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Paris, 16 June 2019