Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/114027
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Type: Theses
Title: How can the global food security challenges be addressed in a multilateral trading system?
Author: Peiris Mendis, Lakmini Priyanga
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: Institute for International Trade
Abstract: Eradicating hunger and meeting food security expectations remain global goals. In the multilateral trading system (MTS) they can only be met through cooperation among countries in the form of international trade. Yet a number of trade-related incidents have eroded confidence in the capacity of the MTS to address food security issues. The research question here is “How can global food security challenges be addressed in a MTS?” The main focus is on the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO), but the research also covers its interaction with other organisations and the context in which it operates, that is, the MTS. The study covers four topics: • What is food security? • Does the WTO have a mandate and the capability to contribute to food security? • What policy measures are used to address food security issues and are they effective? • What significant changes in the context of the debate complicate or ease the quest for a consensus on how to respond to food security challenges? The method used was to collect information on the views of delegates, researchers and officials, by an online survey and from interviews, and to analyse the data using different tools. Views on “What is food security?” were grouped according to combinations of ‘orientations’ and ‘dimensions’. The former refers to a focus on people, trade or resources. The latter refers to availability, accessibility, stability and utilisation. Views on the nature of food security, while apparently showing a systematic variation by the frequency of responses, were not found to differ significantly in statistical terms over the development levels of the respondents’ countries. Lack of progress on food security issues in the WTO is therefore not caused primarily by a lack of a common understanding of the concept. A majority view was that the WTO mandate on food security is limited, although the less developed economies supported the counterview. Respondents also confirmed that WTO rules are inadequate in addressing food security issues. Lack of policy space was an issue for the least-developed and developing countries; inadequacy in disciplining trade-distortive measures was also a concern for the developing, developed and research/official groups; and lack of transparency was especially undesirable for the developed and least-developed countries. Import/export restrictions and subsidies (including domestic support) are widely used policy instruments for food security goals, despite their trade-distortive aspects. However, respondents had mixed views about the effectiveness of these policies, especially in the context of the inadequacy of rules to discipline them. The lack of case law through the dispute settlement system is compounding that issue. The food crisis of 2006–2008 raised the profile of food security but other dynamics have made it difficult to reach a consensus for change. These include greater diversity in the interests of the developing group as a whole, the shift in the negotiating positions of emerging developing countries, and protectionist concerns related to the increase in green box spending. For all these reasons – the uncertainty about the WTO’s mandate, the inadequacy of its rules and the diversity within the developing economy group – negotiations that are relevant to food security have been hindered and little progress has been made. The MTS could contribute to food security, but resolving these issues is the next step to doing so.
Advisor: Findlay, Christopher Charles
Wilson, Keith
Zuo, Alec
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Institute for International Trade, 2017.
Keywords: food security
Multilateral Trading System (MTS)
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Agreement on Agriculture (AoA)
export restrictions
subsidies
dispute settlement system
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
DOI: 10.25909/5b872f7ec13f6
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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