Posted by: Dirk | June 2, 2008

The Doha round, development and food prices

The Copenhagen Consensus 2008 is a panel of eight economists, including Jagdish Bhagwati, François Bourguignon, Nancy Stokey, Finn E. Kydland, Robert Mundell, Douglass North, Thomas Schelling and Vernon Smith. They had to evaluate proposals to foster development in the developing countries (so far, no surprise). Here are the Top3 proposals:

SOLUTION (CHALLENGE)
1 Micronutrient supplements for children (vitamin A and zinc) (Malnutrition)
2 The Doha development agenda (Trade)
3 Micronutrient fortification (iron and salt iodization) (Malnutrition)

The Economist reports on the Doha round, posing the question Does freer farm trade help poor people? It concludes:

These subtleties suggest two conclusions. First, the bank, and others, should beware sweeping generalisations about the impact of food prices on the poor. Second, the nature of trade reform matters. Removing rich-country subsidies on staple goods, the focus of much debate in the Doha round, may be less useful in the fight against poverty than cutting tariffs would be. The food-price crisis has not hurt the case for freer farm trade. But it has shown how important it is to get it right.

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