A crash course in changing the world.
We will strive to ensure that food, agricultural trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all through a fair and market-oriented world trade
37. Trade is a key element in achieving world food security. Trade generates effective utilization of resources and stimulates economic growth which is critical to improving food security. Trade allows
food consumption to exceed food production, helps to reduce production and consumption
fluctuations and relieves part of the burden of stock holding. It has a major bearing on access to
food through its positive effect on economic growth, income and employment. Appropriate
domestic economic and social policies will better ensure that all, including the poor, will benefit
from economic growth. Appropriate trade policies promote the objectives of sustainable growth
and food security. It is essential that all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) respect
and fulfil the totality of the undertakings of the Uruguay Round. For this purpose it will be necessary
to refrain from unilateral measures not in accordance with WTO obligations.
I watched a doc**entary the other day with my Dutch partner. It was about North American and European Agricultural subsides and the effect they have in Africa.
I knew what the doc**entary would be saying because I follow that sort of thing but my partner didn't. By the end of the doc**entary she was in tears. She couldn't believe that the country she held so much allegiance to could be so callous and uncaring in their trade policies. She has voted in her country and I pointed out that effectively that put blood on her hands.
I live in New Zealand. By comparison we lifted virtually all tariffs and subsides in the '80s, we are one of the least capable countries of living under an unprotected trade regime and yet we do.
This is not to say it was done without pain, nor without pressure. International pressure was brought to bear to free up our markets when our country almost went broke as a result of highly protectionist measures in the '70s. Our pain was felt across the board but most acutely in manufacturing. Car assembly died virtually overnight with the loss of many jobs. Textile manufacturing disappeared, as did a bunch of other industries we were basically no good at. What emerged was a vibrant tourism industry and a much stronger agricultural sector. We found ways to vertically integrate manufacturing into the areas we were good at to produce better added value products with higher margins. The result being we can land most of our agriculturally based products into our overseas markets at lower prices and with lower carbon footprints than they can produce locally.
It would be hard to find a country with freer trade policies than New Zealand and hence an ex-prime minister of ours being selected to head the WTO for a number of years.
I personally am proud of my country's stance in this regard, and happy to stand slightly less guilty of the poverty produced by protectionist trade policies of our democratically elected governments.
What I know is this is a somewhat controversial stance. I know every round of the WTO is met with more and more violent protest, typically from left leaning, passionate, save the world, individuals, firmly commited to their fight in this regard.
I invite you all to comment on this score in support or rejection of Commitment 4 of the