Triple Crisis blogger Jayati Ghosh published the following opinion article in the Guardian on one reason why developing countries are skeptical about saving the Doha trade talks– the WTO agreement on agriculture left developing countries exposed to volatile food prices.
Officials at the WTO and leaders of several governments have launched what is said to be a “last-ditch effort” to save the Doha development round of trade negotiations from what is seen as imminent collapse. Will it collapse? And does it matter if it does? Or in other words, what is the likelihood of such a deal, and how much would it benefit developing countries? The brief answers are: low and very little.
So far, the finger-pointing for the failure has been directed either at the US (in which domestic politics suggests little appetite for external trade negotiations), or the newly significant large emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India (that are less willing to accept what are seen as unequal terms), or the overall impact of the “Great Recession” (which has made more countries wary of trade openness that could undermine domestic production and employment).
One aspect that is less talked about is the impact of the WTO Agreement on agriculture and food security in the developing world. The apathy or even downright cynicism in such quarters towards a new trade deal can be understood if we examine this. Basically, many developing countries are now more food-insecure than ever before, and at least part of that can be related to recent trade patterns.