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Resolving the outstanding issues on food aid: Response to the "Communication from the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture Special Session, 30 April 2007"

Working papers

Part of a series of background papers prepared for the Doha round of trade talks.This background papers looks at proposals made by the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture Special Session that could form the basis for a workable agreement. It argues that the longer term goal should be to treat food aid in a similar way to other forms of official development assistance (ODA), removed to the greatest extent possible from the supervisory remit of international agreements for commercial trade. It also find a second and related principle is that of proportionality. Food aid was only 3.4% of ODA in 2005 and 2.8% of global cereal imports in 2004. What exists at present is a complex but ineffective set of special arrangements that are administration intensive. These arrangements are inherited from the past when food aid played a more important role in aid and trade. Instead, simple rules are needed that are clear in their application and easy to administer, including monitoring and supervision and the treatment of potential disputes.

Edward Clay