WTO Holds Regular Committee Meeting

Committee examines impact of food prices on poorer countries.

During a regular WTO Agriculture Committee meeting late last week there was much discussion of food prices and how they affect least-developed countries around the world. A summarization of the meeting pointed out that agricultural prices remain high despite recent falls and these are likely to continue to pose nutritional and broader economic problems for poorer importing countries.

The assessment came from international organizations and followed a statement from least-developed countries on the problems they face and how they assess the relationship between WTO rules and their food security. The organizations said the solution lies in increasing their own assistance, improving farmers' productivity, and reforming disciplines on tariffs, subsidies and food aid in the WTO's Doha Round negotiations.

The "regular" Agriculture Committee meetings deal with routine WTO work, and not the current negotiations, which take place in separate "special sessions."

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