IPC member Stefan Tangermann reflects on changes in the global food trading system since the Doha Development Agenda was launched at the WTO and highlights recommendations of an experts group to address recent challenges including export restrictions, biofuels, increasing financial support for food security purposes, and improving the functioning of the WTO. This is a presentation given by IPC President Ellen Terpstra based on Tangermann's slide presentation. The full report is to be released by ICTSD and IPC in the near future.
We face a critical challenge of increasing global food supplies by 70 percent to meet the anticipated world population of more than 9 billion in 2050 as well as the additional demand for meat and dairy products as millions more enter the middle class. Gains can be made, too, by using technology to reduce waste and to more precisely utilize fertilizers and pesticides. New technologies, including plant breeding techniques, animal biotechnology and nanotechnology, can play an important part in meeting these challenges. They have the potential to increase production, reduce waste, enhance food security, and improve food safety.
But fully utilizing these technologies and being able to trade products made from them may depend on what governments decide in terms of whether these need to be regulated, and if so, how. Questions arise in some cases from there being no trace of the process used to create the product and therefore no way to identify whether it should be regulated. Many governments are currently considering these questions, but if they reach contradictory conclusions, trade may be stifled and the benefits of these advances unrealized.
The downward trend of grain stocks is related to higher demand from increased incomes, higher protein diets, and biofuels, the combination of which seems to have set the stage for more frequent episodes of high volatility in food markets related to weather and other potential supply disruptions. These developments have led to considerable dialogue regarding possible need for greater government intervention in markets to provide for improved assurance of food at reasonable prices. However, recent research offers considerable evidence that private markets remain the best mechanism for distributing relatively scarce stocks.
IPC hosts three panel discussions in Washington
>Creating Shared Value: An Effective Development Tool?
This panel examined the newer business model many multilateral corporations have adopted of providing not only economic output but social value, a concept known as creating shared value. NGOs have weighed in on the effectiveness of these efforts and some companies are working in partnership to assess the impact of these policies and to measure their effectiveness.
> Achieving Food Security in Volatile Times - WTO Disciplines, Grain Reserves, and Other Public Policy Responses
Food security concerns in response to volatile world commodity prices have resulted in many governments undertaking public policy actions to address domestic concerns but which may exacerbate global price spikes. This panel examined price volatility, the role of grain reserves as a moderating policy, and the effectiveness of WTO disciplines on export restrictions.
>Writing the Rules for 21st Century Trade: New Solutions for Old Problems in the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Negotiations
This seminar, co-hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
featured insight into various countries' perspectives on the opportunities of regional trade agreements as well as efforts to address longstanding trade barriers through new and existing mechanisms.
Achieving a Successful Outcome for Agriculture in the EU-U.S.Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
Understanding the often conflicting U.S. and EU approaches to agricultural trade policy will be essential for effectively shaping the negotiating structure of the EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement. The U.S. and EU have diverging views on issues pertaining to SPS measures, market access, and geographical indications. Innovative, non-traditional approaches to shaping the FTA negotiations will be important for a successful outcome. However, the most significant benefit would be a paradigm shift in the trade-related approaches to protecting human, animal, or plant life or health. IPC, with the support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, released a discussion paper examines these issues. More.
Seminar: Charting the Course: Food Security and Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region
The broader Asia-Pacific region—encompassing countries in Asia, North, Central and South America, and Oceania—accounts for more than half of both global GDP and the world’s food supply, includes key food exporters and importers, and encompasses populations with rising incomes and transforming diets, alongside subsistence agriculture and urban poor. The IDB and IPC convened a seminar to take stock of food policy related developments and initiatives in the region. High-level speakers included policymakers, private sector representatives and academics from the region and feature discussions about a number of food security, trade and regulatory initiatives occurring in the region. Participants engaged in shaping recommendations aimed at promoting food security and a more open, productive and sustainable food and trade system. More
Food and Agriculture: The Future of Sustainability
IPC provide input into a report, Food and Agriculture: The future of sustainability, by the U.N. Division for Sustainable Development as a strategic input to the "Sustainable Development in the 21st Century Report" to be launched at the Rio+20 Summit. The report states that on our current trajectory, severe disruptions to national and regional food systems are highly likely to happen; the main question is when. Exposing unforeseen areas of consensus, the report lays out concrete steps for sustainable and resilient food and agriculture systems. By opening the silos of partisan thinking to invite reasoned discussion, it also exposes areas of disagreement and advances a key set of specific "high impact" areas where smart decisions will make the most difference.View Report
Addressing Regulatory Asynchronicity and Low Level Presence of Biotech Crops
As number of biotech crops has grown, regulatory approvals of new biotech crops across different countries have become less synchronized. Asynchronicity in regulatory approvals between producing and importing countries implies that some agricultural commodity trade flows may contain low level presence (LLP) of biotech events which are authorized in the exporting but not in the importing country. Trade disruptions have already occurred. Such disruptions are likely to increase and can have significant economic implications unless countries adopt a practical approach when faced with LLP situations. More
> China Case Study
> Vietnam Case Study
> Latin America Case Study
Farm Policy in the US and the EU: The Status of Reform and the Choices Ahead
As the EU prepares to reform its Common Agricultural Policy and the US Congress seeks to pass a new farm bill, tight government budgets will require that policymakers consider carefully policy options to ensure that domestic objectives are properly addressed. EU and US policy choices will have implications for global food and agricultural production and trade, for food security and for commodity prices. IPC’s latest discussion paper examines how various policy approaches for agriculture and biofuels could fulfill the stated and implicit objectives of US and EU farm policy, and how policy instruments are likely to impact international objectives of the US and EU respectively.
> Discussion Paper
> Policy Focus: The Future of Direct Payments
> Policy Focus: What Next for Farm Policy in the U.S. and EU?
> Policy Focus: Biofuel Policies in the U.S. and EU
> Policy Focus: Research & Development
Seminar: Non-Tariff Measures in Food and Agriculture: Which Road Ahead?
Regulations in the food and agriculture sector increasingly lead to the application of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) that affect international trade. There is a need to step up efforts to promote greater transparency on NTMs and to improve our ability to measure their impact. The OECD and the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council recently hosted an international seminar on NTMs at the OECD in Paris, France on September 13, 2011. More
> Background Papers on SPS Standards
Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security: Progress to Date and Strategies for Success
On May 24, 2011, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs convened a symposium, in partnership with IPC, to review progress on the U.S. government’s global food security strategy and provide critical thinking on how best to overcome potential obstacles to success. Speakers and agenda are available here.
The goal of the project, in which IPC is one of 19 international project partners, is to collect and analyze new data on non-tariff measures (NTMs), particularly on governmental standards and regulations that prescribe the conditions for EU agrifood exports and compares these with conditions for importing into the EU. Furthermore, impacts from EU and trade partner NTMs on least developing country (LDC) exports are examined. More
IPC began in 1987 to promote a more open and equitable global food system by pursuing pragmatic trade and development policies in food and agriculture to meet the world’s growing needs.
IPC was dissolved in 2015 but its analyses and seminar records will remain available for some time.