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The IPC's Substantive Agenda

Doha Development Agenda

The agricultural trade negotiations are moving forward rapidly. During the first two phases of the negotiations, 45 proposals from 121 countries were submitted. In 2002, phase three begins with an ambitious agenda. Because the Uruguay Round Agreement established the basic framework, the parameters of the negotiations are well defined. However, new issues have emerged which complicate the debate, and there are linkages between the three pillars (domestic subsidies, market access and export competition) which were not explicit in the Uruguay Round talks. The IPC proposes to:

  • Define modalities to reduce trade-distorting domestic support, increase market access, and reduce export assistance (IPC modalities recommendations).
  • Identify ways to accommodate non-trade concerns that do not distort trade.
  • Identify WTO consistent means to address the precautionary approach, biotechnology, geographic indicators and production process labeling.

International Agricultural Development

As the world food and agricultural system becomes increasingly global, agricultural trade policies have a powerful and sometimes contradictory effect on agriculture in developing countries. Free-trade adherents focus on the opportunities, free-trade skeptics on the constraints. The public debate has polarized these two extremes, but most economists agree that trade can be a powerful engine of growth for developing countries, if developing countries’ concerns are addressed.

In the Uruguay Round, the final agreement was brokered between the US and the EU. Developing country concerns were primarily addressed under Special and Differential Treatment. It has since become apparent that if developing countries are to benefit from the global food and agricultural trade system, their needs must be integrated into the entire agricultural trade agreement. The IPC proposes to:

Agricultural Sustainability

In March 2002, WTO members agreed on a timetable for agricultural trade negotiations under the auspices of the Doha Development Agenda. In September 2002, UN members will meet at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to build upon the commitments made ten years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

 

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In March 2002, WTO members agreed on a timetable for agricultural trade negotiations under the auspices of the Doha Development Agenda. In September 2002, UN members will meet at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to build upon the commitments made ten years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

These two debates are intertwined. Agriculture’s basic inputs—land, water, plants and animals—comprise the environment. As the employer of 70 percent of the world’s poorest citizens, agriculture is the basis for economically sustainable development. Yet, poor societies cannot well afford to protect their environment.

With increasing population and income growth, pressures on the global food and agricultural systems will grow stronger. It is imperative that trade policy reforms reinforce sustainable agricultural and food production.

Decisions taken to foster sustainable agriculture must also strengthen the world agricultural food trade and production system. The IPC proposes to:

  • Explore the links between domestic agricultural and trade policies and sustainable food and agricultural production, in developed as well as developing countries.
  • Identify agricultural and trade policies that undermine economic and environmental sustainability.
  • Identify the trade and domestic policy frameworks that best support sustainable agriculture and food production. (IPC Sustainability Task Force).
The IPC’s Mission & History The IPC’s Outreach