Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission
Other Issues with in depth
that Impact Food in this paper, there
Though they are not dealt
are a number of other polemical issues on the
bargaining table in trade talks that also affect agriculture and rural areas. One such area is food quality and safety. The U.S. position, backed by WTO rules, is that while countries can discriminate against dangerous products based on “sound science,” such discrimination can only apply to the final product itself and not the
process used to produce it. caused friction. The U.S.
Both the “science” issue and the “process” issue have claims that the “precautionary principle” backed by
safety are produced evidence” evidence”
still largely unstudied—like genetically-engineered (GE) foods, or beef with growth hormones, is not “science based” because “scientific is still lacking. We imagine a hypothetical case where “scientific were to appear that showed that GE foods were not a consumer risk,
In such because
case, the would be
might well fight against discrimination on that basis on the production process and not on the final product
itself. Another wedge issue, and the Third World on the
this time between the U.S. and EU on the one hand, other, is that of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs),
which are addressed (TRIPS) Agreement
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights WTO,. Negotiations related to the TRIPs Agreement
are conducted separately style patent protection on
from the agriculture the rest of the world,
negotiations. TRIPS imposes US- which in agriculture means “plant
variety protection,” and forces farmers everywhere to pay royalties for using varieties patented by foreign corporations. While Third World governments
accepted TRIPS at the resistance comprised of
rhetorical level, foot dragging on
they are engaged in a the national legislation
to make the agreement operational.
In general, family
environmentalist, consumer, indigenous, and labor the precautionary principle and oppose TRIPS.
farm, peasant, worldwide back
Dumping and Subsidies: Unraveling the Confusion
Dumping is what is driving millions of farmers off the land throughout the Third World and into urban slums and international migratory streams. It causes the low crop prices that make earning a livelihood off the land increasingly impossible.11 It is also illegal under well-established international rules. Yet because of the way these rules are written, they are virtually unenforceable when the complainant is a poor country. First, countries must have domestic legislation that makes dumping illegal. Many developing countries do not have such legislation. Second, the businesses (or farmers) affected must follow that domestic law, which usually implies showing harm to the sector as a whole— a daunting challenge when the sector is comprised of a million or more smallholders. Third, the government must then establish whether harm has in fact been done, often a
difficult task population is even harder.
when reliable and timely statistics are not maintained. When the affected spread out over a national territory and not effectively represented, it is The evidence must ultimately be able to satisfy an WTO panel