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The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

Founded in 1986, IATP is rooted in the family farm movement. With offices in Minneapolis and Geneva, IATP works on making domestic and global agricultural policy more sustainable for everyone.

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Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health.



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August 27, 2008

Who Would Benefit From Doha?

While most believe the Doha Round of negotiations at the WTO are dead, a few countries, led by Brazil, are desperately trying to re-start discussions. Yesterday, IATP's Anne Laure Constantin wrote about Brazil's evolving role at the WTO: from a leading voice for developing countries when talks collapsed at the Cancun Ministerial in 2003, to a persistent advocate for a Doha deal this July in Geneva. As Anne Laure wrote, Brazil has huge agriculture export interests that stand to benefit from a deal at the WTO, particularly in this new era of rising commodity prices.

But a new analysis by researchers at Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute points out that, unlike Brazil, most developing countries would be left out of any projected export boom, while suffering the negative consequences (loss of farmers, greater vulnerability to price volatility) due to rising food imports. The few developing countries that stand to gain are those with greater capacity for production with vast tracts of high-quality land, modernized agricultural production and infrastructure: Brazil, Argentina, China and the former Soviet Union.

The Tufts researchers write, "To emerge a winner from agricultural trade liberalization, other developing countries will need to out-compete not just the global North but these emerging agricultural export powerhouses."

The Tufts research shows yet again the weakness of a one-size-fits-all approach to agricultural trade rules being pushed at the WTO. They write, "Trade liberalization globalizes not only markets, it globalizes market failure."

Ben Lilliston


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