The FAO Food Price Index, released today, rose slightly in October to 205.8 points. While this is about 1.3 percent higher than in September, it is still 5.3 percent below its October 2012 levels. This small increase was driven mainly by rising sugar prices.
We commit ourselves to comprehensive negotiations aimed at: substantial improvements in market access; reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support. We agree that special and differential treatment for developing countries shall be an integral part of all elements of the negotiations.
It can be argued that rich countries are becoming more and more open to international trade. In the US, the average tariff on dutiable imports declined from 59.1% in 1932 to 4.6% in 2005, according to the US International Trade Commission. And emerging economies like Brazil, China, and India have recently begun following the same path, supporting the idea that global trade is becoming progressively more free-flowing.
I will first provide a brief summary of where the WTO negotiations currently stand along the Road to Bali, based on a summary given by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo at the Informal Trade Negotiations Committee meeting of October 25, 2013.
In Part I, I mentioned the different channels affecting food and nutrition security, focusing on trade and trade policies. In Part II, I will go into more detail regarding the links between trade, trade policies, and food security, specifically in the context of the WTO.
In December, the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference will open in Bali, Indonesia. Agriculture, and the links between trade and poverty alleviation, food security, and environmental sustainability, will appear again as key issues in the negotiations. The new Road to Bali blog series will provide analysis and dialogue about the critical issues being discussed in the official negotiations, civil society, and research circles, with a particular focus on the negotiations' potential implications for developing countries.
In early October, the WTO held its Public Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. The Public Forum is an annual event providing a platform for public debate about a wide range of global topics and issues being discussed by the WTO.