Trade and Investment

Trade between nations, and international finance organizations that regulate trade (like the WTO), greatly impact food security and food sovereignty. These links detail the impacts these bodies have had, and also effective alternatives to this model


“The World Trade Organization and the Post-Global Food Crisis Agenda: Putting Food Security First in the International Trade System”
The following report, compiled by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, assesses how the WTO’s rules could be made compatible to ensure the right to food, especially in developing nations. De Schutter makes a list of recommendations to the WTO, urging it to change its criteria for what it believes are “trade distorting mechanisms”, mechanisms that are actually essential for ensuring the livelihoods of smallholders in agriculture.

“Making U.S. Trade  Policy Serve Global Food Security Goals”
IATP’s report discusses the damaging global impact of increased trade liberalization, pushes for food reserves and regional and local agriculture, and argues that food prices need to be stabilized.

“Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007”
The report entitled, “Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007”compiled by Global Development and Environmental Institute (GDAE), and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), argues that policy reforms in trade are in order, warning if these measures are not taken soon, another food crisis can occur. They urge attention on three matters, financial speculation on food commodities, reducing expansion of land for biofuels, and halting “land grabs”.

“Why are Lamy of the World Trade Organization and Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food at odds?”
The following piece by Food First details how the Director-General of the WTO, Pascal Lemy, and Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s special rapporteur to the right to food, disputed over their fundamentally different approaches on how to achieve food security. De Schutter was challenging the misconception that trade always equates to food security, and urged that WTO agricultural trade rules be changed to benefit smallholders.

“The Struggle for Food Justice and Fair Trade”
The Fair Trade Movement, which emerged to challenge “Free Trade” is a movement that is working towards paying producers in the Global South a livable wage, ensuring development and a good standard of living. Unfortunately, in recent years, the fair trade movement has become diluted and controlled by corporate interests. Food First reports on the changes that have occured within the fair trade movement.

“Trade Liberalization, Food Security and the Environment: The Neoliberal Threat to Sustainable Rural Development by Carmen G. Gonzalez, Seattle University School of Law”
Carmen G. Gonzalez, an expert in the areas of Environmental Law and International Trade Law, discusses the impact trade liberalization and neoliberal economic reforms have had on hunger and the environment in the developing world. She pulls apart the invalid argument major developmental institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and The World Trade organization make – that deregulation and liberalization can solve the root causes of hunger, and instead advocates alternative measures that will help promote food security from the bottom-up.


“Susan George on the WTO, World Bank and IMF”
Susan George, a fellow of the Transnational Institute (TNI), in this video discusses the powerful influence international organizations such as the WTO (World Trade Organization, World Bank, and IMF (International Monetary Fund) have on developing countries and how the short-sighted policies they prescribe often cause more harm than good.

“What does ‘Structural Adjustment’ mean?”
“Structural Adjustment Programs” or SAPs, are policies advocated by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) that require developing countries to deregulate certain critical sectors of their economies such as agriculture and water. This allows artificially cheap food imports from the west to flood the markets of underdeveloped countries, thus destroying the livelihoods of small farmers. In the following video, Martin Khor, an expert on trade and development issues, discusses the impacts of SAPs on developing countries.