International Trade and Food Security

International Trade and Food Security

Exploring Collective Food Security in Asia

NUS Centre for International Law series

Edited by Michael Ewing-Chow and Melanie Vilarasau Slade

Food security is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Through a collection of commissioned studies, which draw upon the experience of leading experts and scholars in trade, investment, law, economics, and food policy, this book assesses whether self-sufficiency is an adequate response to the food security challenges we face

Chapter 11: The WTO and food security – and a possible step forward

Clemens Boonekamp

Subjects: law - academic, asian law, international economic law, trade law, public international law


I was asked by the organizers of the CIL Conference on Food Security and Trade and editors of this book to provide my thoughts on the agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on food security – what it is and what it could be. This chapter outlines my views as outlined at the CIL Conference in 2013. I served for many years in the GATT Secretariat and later the WTO where I was the Director, Trade Policy Review Division and later the Director, Agriculture and Commodities Divisions. Since my retirement in 2013, I have been a trade policy consultant to several countries and I have continued to be involved in the issues. The opinions that I express below are my personal opinions but my hope is that they will be useful in stimulating debate on how the WTO could move forward in dealing with the issue of food security and trade. Nearly one in eight people in the world go hungry, mainly in developing countries. This situation undermines the growth and development of both individuals and countries. Ensuring that people are appropriately fed is thus a moral, political and economic imperative. In consequence, food security has become an important item on the international agenda and it is central to the work of the WTO on agriculture.

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