nccr trade regulation - swiss national centre of competence in research
Home Research Projects NCCR Publications NCCR Conferences & Events NCCR Conferences Workshops and Seminars Brown Bag Seminars NCCR Yearly Symposium PhD Workshops MILE Lectures NCCR Portrait News Network Events & Links


Home arrow NCCR Conferences & Events arrow NCCR Conferences
The World Trade Forum 2008 "Food Crisis and the World Trading System" Print
26-27 of September 2008, WTI Berne, Switzerland

The World Trade Forum is an annual conference of some 40 to 60 participants to discuss salient topics of the world trading system. Mostly lawyers, economists, political science and development specialists meet to discuss theories and insights in world trade. Papers, comments, and conclusions of the conferences are published in the World Trade Forum Series. The World Trade Forum Series, now in its 12th year, has been published by prominent publishers and its current publisher is Cambridge University Press.

This year's World Trade Forum will address the issue of 'Food Crisis and the World Trading System'. Rising food prices have caught the world by surprise and are now forcing policy makers in developing and developed countries to re-think their current agricultural and trade policies. The objective of this year's Forum is to identify the major implications of the crisis for the world trading system. Even though a successful completion of the Doha Round will provide additional incentives for competitive farmers to produce more food, a comprehensive policy response will require more than just trade liberalization. The decade-long industrialization and urbanization drive at the expense of rural development, world price-depressing production and export subsidies in rich countries and the neglect of agricultural research and extension on the national and international level have worsened the situation of farmers, especially in rural regions that are neither formally embedded in the global food supply chains nor supported by their governments. In addition, in the presence of new environmental challenges, such as climate change, water shortages and intensified land degradation, it is increasingly difficult to boost food supplies in a sustainable manner. Hence the Forum will discuss the food crisis in a broad context of agricultural development, trade regulation, technology policy and environmental sustainability. 

Programme WTF 2008

Registration Form WTF 2008

Author's Guidelines

The participation to the event is free but registration is required. Deadline for registrations: September 15th, 2008. For more information and registration, please contact Ms. Gaby Hofer, or Dr. Baris Karapinar,  

During the two days, the discussions will be divided into three thematic sessions:

Session 1 "The Economics of the Food Crisis", Friday, September 26, 2-6PM

The main focus of this session will be the economic dimension of the food crisis.  It will start with the topic of agricultural development and investigate the structural causes of persistent food insecurity especially in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The impact of price hikes on the different segments of the poor will also be analyzed. Then, the Forum will discuss the merit of alternative trade policies that developing countries might pursue in addressing food shortages. In this context, what is the right recipe: more liberalized trade, investing in self-sufficiency, export restrictions or new commodity agreements? The impact of food aid and agricultural trade policies in rich countries on food security in developing countries will also be analyzed. Is it part of the problem or part of the solution?
This session will also look at the mutual relationship between food crisis and the environment.  Questions about climate change and food security will be addressed in light of the most recent studies on climate impact modelling. From a post-environmentalism perspective, the role of technology in sustainable agriculture will be discussed.  Are GMOs an answer to the food crisis? Is a new Green Revolution possible? What institutional and regulatory measures would this require?    

Session 2 "Trade Law: WTO and Beyond", Saturday, September 27, 10AM-1PM

The main focus of this session will be the legal dimension of trade regulation and the food crisis. It will involve discussions about food security-related adjustments to the regulatory framework, particularly in relation to the Agreement on Agriculture, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures etc.  In light of the results of the July 2008 WTO Ministerial Conference, the Forum will look at the latest situation in the Doha “Development Round”. Would the existing proposals on key issues in agriculture help avert potential food crisis in the future? This session would cover some fundamental questions on market access and domestic support, using as examples the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the US Farm Bill on the food crisis. In this context, it will also address the role of biofuels subsidies. From the perspectives of both net food importing and net food exporting developing countries, the relevance of “policy space” in dealing with the food crisis will also be discussed.

Session 3 "Policy Responses to the Food Crisis", Saturday, September 27, 2PM-5PM

This session will involve prominent policy-makers and stakeholders delivering keynote messages on the policy response to the food crisis.  The questions that our keynote speakers will address include “Multilateral trade negotiations: Doha at stake?”, “Are national policies in OECD countries a threat to food security in poor countries?”, “How to ensure food security despite increasing pressure on natural resources?”, “Global governance: food security as an international public good?”

STP81700.JPG  STP81706.JPG


SNF - Swiss National Science Foundation The National Centres of Competence in Research are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation