Seeking Answers to Global Trade Challenges

IFPRI Participates in WTO Public Forum
September 22, 2011

The World Trade Organization this week hosted a public forum, “Seeking Answers to Global Trade Challenges”, which discussed the future of the multilateral trading system. The forum addressed four main topics related to global trade: food security, trade in natural resources, “made-in-the-world” and value-added trade, and the next steps for the global trading system.

Markets, Trade and Institutions Division Director Maximo Torero joined the inaugural session, discussing the impact of food price volatility and the importance of trade to sustainable food security. Dr. Torero stated that while a certain amount of speculation is beneficial since it provides liquidity to global markets, excessive speculation can encourage volatility, with negative consequences for the world’s poor. For more information on excessive food price volatility, visit the Food Security Portal’s Excessive Price Variability Early Warning System.

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IFPRI also organized the session on "Achieving Food Security through World Markets", which focused on how trade openness can contribute to food security at a global, regional and country level. IFPRI presenters David Laborde, David Orden, and Antoine Bouet highlighted the fact that while freer trade is necessary for food security, it is not sufficient in and of itself.

Additional participants included Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO; H.E. Ms. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica; and Ms. Carmel Cahill, Senior Counsellor of the Trade and Agricultural Directoriate (OECD).