Exploring Collective Food Security in Asia
NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by Michael Ewing-Chow and Melanie Vilarasau Slade
Chapter 3: Food security initiatives in Asia and the impact of WTO Regulation
In many developing countries, ‘food security’ policies are typically associated with public sector action based on the exercise of State sovereignty: there is an emphasis on direct command by the State over markets, and ‘food sovereignty’ over reliance on international trade, particularly for sensitive commodities. In Southeast Asia, this contrasts with the push for an ASEAN single market and production base, as described in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint. Most countries in Asia have furthermore already acceded to the WTO. Food reserves, both private and public, command a renewed level of attention in today’s era of pricing volatility. In addition to various national initiatives, ASEAN, together with the Plus Three countries, namely China, Japan, and Republic of Korea, have recently established a regional emergency rice reserve. This chapter provides an overview of current practice of public stockholding in the case of Southeast Asian countries and explores association of food security with market-distorting schemes. It then goes on to examine the countervailing forces for trade liberalization and their likely impact by focusing on their effect on food security policies in the Philippines.
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