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ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Global food trading regime: policy implications

One-day short course


2nd June 2016


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy


Sharon Friel



In this course you will explore how the global food trading regime emerged and developed and obtain an understanding of some of the current key challenges in agricultural and food policy making. The course focusses on food security, public and private food standards and trade, food and public health. It is designed for people with an interest in these issues and is aimed at enhancing your capacity to engage in agricultural and food policy making and administration in an internationalised context.

Course overview


The architecture and dynamics of the WTO food trading regime (Professor Carsten Daugbjerg)

When the WTO Agreement on Agriculture was adopted in 1994, surplus production and depressed prices characterised the world market for food. Market liberalisation was seen as the solution to this problem and the Agreement was designed to discipline the use of farm subsidies and tariffs and set the course for further liberalisation. This session will provide an overview over the architecture of the global food trading regime within which the current negotiation dynamics and disputes between member states can be understood.
Addressing global food security (Professor Carsten Daugbjerg)

Since 2007, the market situation has changed dramatically as prices have increased significantly, causing food crises in 2007/08 and 2011. This has raised concerns about food security. In particular developing countries are concerned about the potential shortage of food supplies and price increases in the near future. Can the global food trading regime address this new challenge and how?

Public and private food standards (Professor Carsten Daugbjerg)

The WTO food trading regime was designed to create a level playing field by laying down the principle of scientific risk analysis as the basis for domestic biosecurity and food safety measures. Over the last 20 years precautionary and ethical concerns have increasingly been reflected in retailer-led private food standard schemes. This has challenged the principle of scientific risk analysis in food regulation. Has this development undermined the WTO’s food trading regime, or contributed to maintaining it?

Food, trade and public health (Professor Sharon Friel)

The suite of multilateral trade agreements initiated by the WTO and subsequently deepened through an increasing number of bilateral and regional trade agreements, have brought about three important changes to food systems: opening of domestic markets towards international food trade and foreign direct investment; subsequent increased entry of transnational food companies and their global market, and global food advertising. These three changes affect population diets by altering the local availability, nutritional quality, price and desirability of foods. In this session we discuss the pathways between trade and health, with a specific focus on diet-related health, and explore the opportunities and challenges for healthy trade policy and health policy that is trade compliant.

Course convenor


Professor Carsten Daugbjerg

Carsten Daugbjerg is Professor of Public Policy in the Policy and Governance Program, the Crawford School of Public Policy.

His research has focused on agricultural policy reforms, farm trade negotiations in the WTO, public and private food standards in global trade, government-interest group relations and environmental policy, with a particular focus on the politics of green taxation, agri-environmental regulation, comparative organic food policies and biofuels policy. His recent research addresses global food security policy and governance. He has published widely on these issues in leading international journals, has had four books published, including Ideas, Institutions and Trade: The WTO and the Curious Role of EU Farm Policy in Trade Liberalization, Oxford University Press, 2009 (co-authored with Alan Swinbank), and has contributed with chapters to numerous edited books. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning.

Course presenter (s)


Professor Sharon Friel

Sharon Friel is Professor of Health Equity and Director of the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), Australian National University. She is also Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy ANU, an ANU Public Policy Fellow and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. She is Co-Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity. She held an inaugural Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to investigate the interface between health equity, food systems and climate change, based at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU. Between 2005 and 2008 she was the Head of the Scientific Secretariat (University College London) of the World Health Organisation Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Her current interests are in the political economy of health; policy, governance and regulation in relation to the social determinants of health inequities, including trade and investment, food systems, and climate change.

Course dates:
9.30am–4.30pm 2 June 2016
Venue: #132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Enrol: T 02 6125 2154 E
Cost: A$1,100 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

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