World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Benefits of trade liberalizat. may not reach poor

Benefits of trade liberalization may not reach poor without further changes – UN

Only days ahead of a make-or-break meeting seeking agreement on liberalizing agricultural trade, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that urgent complementary policies and investments are essential to ensure that the benefits of trade reform reach the poor.

The 6th UN World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference in Hong Kong will make a final push to reach agreement on eliminating agricultural export subsidies and other trade-distorting support in the developed world, thus opening up market access there for the agriculture of developing nations.

In its latest report released today, The State of Food and Agriculture 2005 (SOFA 2005), the FAO examines agricultural trade and poverty, seeking to answer the question: Can trade work for the poor?

According to SOFA 2005, the answer is yes, but trade liberalization alone is not enough. Policies and investments must be put in place to allow the poor to benefit from trade opportunities and to protect the vulnerable against trade-related shocks.

“Agricultural trade and further trade liberalization can unlock the potential of the agriculture sector to promote pro-poor growth, but these benefits are not guaranteed,” it stresses.

The report says industrial countries have the most to gain from agriculture trade liberalization, because their agriculture sectors are the most distorted by existing policies. “Consumers in currently protected markets and producers in countries with low levels of domestic support would tend to gain the most,” it notes.

Developing countries as a whole would also benefit from liberalization, but SOFA 2005 warns that some groups could be hurt in the short run. Those groups include net food importing countries and countries that have been given preferential access to the highly protected markets of wealthier member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

For developing countries as a whole the greatest potential gains from agricultural liberalization will depend not on reform of the agriculture support system in OECD countries but on reforming their own trade policies, which would encourage greater trade between them. Between 70 and 85 per cent of the potential benefits for developing countries would derive from their own reform policies in agriculture.

Because most of the world’s poor and food insecure people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, SOFA 2005 argues that a growing agricultural sector is crucial for sustainable poverty reduction.

The report has a number of recommendations to ensure that liberalization supports pro-poor outcomes, calling for basic market institutions and infrastructure to be set up before opening national agricultural markets to international competition, especially from subsidized competitors.

It urges a twin-track approach that would on the one hand invest in educating people, building institutions and infrastructure and on the other provide safety nets to protect the most vulnerable people in society during the transition to freer trade.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news