Food security and contested agricultural trade norms
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Just as it is important to uncover the historical origins of specific norms that shape the trade regime, it is also helpful to examine how those norms are then translated into policy through contemporary rules and agreements. In this commentary, I argue that the articulation of agricultural trade norms into policy is an ongoing and messy process, complicated by multiple and competing norms that are mediated by power and politics. In making this argument, I advance three interrelated points. First, politics and power differentials among competing interests help to explain why the “free trade” norm has been only partially and unevenly applied in the agricultural sector. Second, recognition of the unbalanced agricultural trade regime in recent decades has provided an opening for the expression of alternative agricultural trade norms, in particular the idea of special and differential treatment for food security in developing countries. Third, the recent political battle at the WTO over food security demonstrates that multiple trade norms for food and agriculture continue to collide and shift through political processes and remain deeply contested.
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Jennifer Clapp (2015). Food security and contested agricultural trade norms. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11536