WTO urged more to do more to tackle trade barriers in food and agriculture

Countries that resort to “panic” protection trade principles after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, experts say

News analysis

Farmers are suffering from rising fuel and fertilizer costs and labor shortages, while restrictions on international trade have been another headwind since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Against this background, leading food experts say the World Trade Organization (WTO) plays an important role in ensuring free and fair trade in agricultural products, albeit with limited effectiveness. I am.

Sylvain Charlevois, senior director of the Institute for Agricultural Food Analysis at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said NATO Secretary-General “countries are beginning to panic … and protection trade is happening” due to the war in Ukraine. I told the Epoch Times. Jens Stoltemberg Say it may last for years.

“I think the role of the WTO is to promote trade and educate the government as much as possible. [given] Probably in just a few days, it’s [export restrictions] It can actually make things worse. Therefore, all of these decisions actually affect the overall price. I think that’s the most important thing at the moment, “he said.

WTO finished 5 days 12th Council of Ministers (MC12) In Geneva on June 17th. A Canada’s Agricultural Food Trade Alliance The (CAFTA) delegation reported that, among other deliverables, a commitment was made to reform and strengthen the rules-based trading system.

However, some of the nasty problems are still underway.

“We hope that members will seize the momentum of the MC12 and further discuss its commitment to trade distortion subsidies,” CAFTA vice president Greg Nosey said in a statement on June 17.

Up to MC12, CAFTA has promoted significant reforms to the WTO, given that world trade plays an important role in rising food prices and food instability. A joint statement on June 10 was issued with 24 other agricultural groups, stating that “WTO rules are not keeping up with commerce in the 21st century and urgent action is needed.”

Recognizing the need to eliminate market access, tariff increases, agricultural allocation issues, and all forms of market access barriers, the statement states: The focus is to hurt farmers, ranchers and consumers around the world. “

Charlesboa explains that international trade exists to reconcile the earth’s resources, as some countries produce certain commodities more efficiently than others.

He says a free and open trading environment is needed to keep costs down, but he suspects the government will continue to panic and the WTO may not be able to do much.

“Especially the WTO has been frankly undermined by several governments. Recently, many have questioned the authority of the WTO,” said Charlebois.

The Canadian Independent Business Federation (CFIB) said on June 20 that the majority of Canada’s agricultural businesses (94%) affected them by rising input prices, a supply chain challenge (83%). Continued, reporting that the government is increasing business costs. (72%), and labor shortage (57%).

“Given the current geopolitical situation in the world, economic sustainability, farm productivity and competitiveness are policy frameworks that enable Canadian agribusiness to supply products to countries and around the world. It should be at the heart of, “said Virginia Labbie, senior CFIB. Agribusiness policy analyst, statement providing recommendations for Canada’s next policy framework.

Canada’s Annual inflation Reading in May was 7.7% and food prices rose 9.7%.

Installation trade restrictions

Some countries, as seen in the past, have restricted food exports in the midst of food supply turmoil, with numbers increasing from 3 to 16 as of early April. April 13th Blog Post According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Since then, that number has increased to 22, and according to the WTO, the May CAFTA report says it is “relatively stable now.” June 14..

IFPRI explained that many export restrictions are not a complete ban, but rather like taxes and other costs that raise consumer prices.

Export restrictions are measured by the calories of food, whether wheat or corn. Canada has much less impact, with less than 1.2% of the share of imported calories under export restrictions by the source country.

“Currently, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has no rules to effectively regulate the use of export restrictions. In the past, WTO member states have sought to reach an agreement to regulate export restrictions on agricultural products. But it failed., Even if you are trying to create an exemption for basic needs such as humanitarian transport, “IFPRI says.

Subsidies, on the other hand, are a more permanent trade issue.among them May exchange insights CAFTA cites a joint report by the WTO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Economic Development Cooperation Organization, where subsidies are the most frequent form of market intervention and about 4,500 for governments around the world to support agriculture. He says he is spending 100 million dollars. Nearly 85% of that is spent solely in the European Union, China, the United States, and India.

“Overall, the report states that these market distortions have contributed to much of the growing global trade friction in recent years,” said CAFTA.

One of the notable achievements of the MC12 is the reaching of an agreement on restraint. Fishery subsidy..

Canada’s own supply controls are trade restrictions and continue to be exciting, especially for the United States.

“I don’t think the subsidies will run out soon. They will continue to exist,” Charlebois said.

However, he asked some questions about subsidies and other trade restrictions that affect food production.

“I think we really need to look at Canada’s food autonomy at some point. How can we actually produce more? How can we produce more in other parts of the world?” How can we produce more in an open economy? “

Charlebois added that Canada needs to consider the implications of applying tariffs, such as Russian fertilizers, given the negative impact on agricultural productivity.

“Knowing that NATO believes the war may last for years, we need to adjust our pace here and make sure productivity remains an important priority. Must-Agricultural Productivity. “

China’s economic and social policies have global influence, and Charlebois states that one of the things the WTO can do is condemn counterproductive actions, such as managing COVID.

“The WTO’s job is probably to address some of these issues, reassuring the market that other practices are currently taking place around the world, and zero-tolerance policies may not be the best. I think there is more data to show that there is interest in the global food supply chain. “

Rahul Vaidyanath


Rahul Vaidyanath is a journalist in The Epoch Times of Ottawa. His areas of expertise include economics, financial markets, China, and defense and security. He has worked at the Bank of Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., and investment banks in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles.

Posted on