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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 12, 2019

WTO Rules and Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes

  • Ulla Kask EMAIL logo


The 2007/08 food crisis, which revived interest in public stocks for food security purposes in different parts of the world, has sparked heated debates at every Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since the Bali Ministerial in December 2013. At the heart of these debates are the current rules of the WTO that apply to public stockholding and how they limit (or not) the ability of a government to constitute food stocks and pursue its food security objectives. This article discusses the current WTO rules that apply to food stockpiling and the rationale behind them. It describes the current WTO disciplines, notably in the area of domestic support, and examines the different types of support provided by the WTO Members under their public stockholding programs. It concludes by looking at the main arguments for and against the current rules.

JEL Classification: F130


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Published Online: 2019-11-12

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