Towards a New Theory of International Agricultural Trade Regulation
Elgar International Economic Law series
Successful regulation of international agricultural trade is a constant battle. Despite continued attempts in the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks to reach agreement on how the text of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture should be amended, the final point remains elusive. How to resolve the problem of international agricultural trade regulation and move beyond the current impasse is taxing the minds of trade negotiators, civil society representatives as well as scholars expert in the field. Traditionally, the debate is framed in the following terms: there are many distortions to market access for agricultural products. Markets therefore need to be fully liberalized, but in ways which consider non-trade concerns, like development, environment or human rights for example. It is only by achieving an effective balance between trade and non-trade objectives that global welfare will be achieved. (The outcome of this balancing exercise is sometimes that non-trade concerns should not be part of the trading regime at all; or that non-trade concerns cannot be realized through exceptions to the trade regime, but only through fully liberalized markets.) The literature therefore tends to concentrate on various aspects around this axis of debate. This book challenges this orthodoxy and argues we should re-visit our understanding of the problem. It is only when we fully understand the problem of international agricultural trade that we can hope to move beyond the difficulties we are currently encountering. The book argues that the problem of international agricultural trade is not a series of interconnected problems, but rather...