Monday, July 28, 2008

India-China Alliance in Geneva; When Farms Mean National Security

The latest set of negotiations of the Doha Round seems to be in serious trouble as India and China, leading a group of about 30 developing/rising states, appears to be on the verge of rejecting a compromise offer. WTO chief Pascal Lamy had proposed a "swap" where European and North American countries would slash their farm subsidies in return for developing states opening up more market share for Western goods and services.

Latin American states, led by Brazil, were receptive, especially given the possibility of gaining market share in the U.S., but other countries are worried about losing a domestic farming base.

What is interesting is how farming is now seen as a "national security" issue. India argues that in a world increasingly defined by shortage and competition, it needs to preserve its own domestic ability to produce food. All of this, by the way, touches on issues discussed in the current issue of The National Interest.

A good summary of the U.S. perspective here, versus Xinhua's coverage.

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