Harmonizing Trade in Agriculture and Human Rights: Options for the Integration of … (K. Mechlem)

Author

Kerstin Mechlem (University of Ulster)

Keywords

Agreement on Agriculture, right to food, humanrights, international trade

Abstract

The WTO and the humanrights systems have been created to pursue the same global objective: advancing human welfare. However, while the WTO scheme, including the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), is concerned with aggregated improvements in global welfare, humanrights focus on the individual and postulate standards that have to be respected even in the pursuit of overall societal goals.

Due to this difference, liberalization of trade in agriculture can have negative impacts on the realization of individual rights, an outcome WTO Members are required to avoid according to humanrights law. Focusing specifically on the right to food, this paper suggests four ways of making agricultural trade rules more complementary to that right: by inserting the right explicitly in a new trade agreement, by interpreting existing or future rules to take account of the right, by invoking the right as an exception to a trade obligation and, most importantly, by shaping the revised AoA, which is being negotiated as part of the Doha Round, to conform to the right to food.

Citation

(2006) 10 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 127-190

Paper

Harmonizing Trade in Agriculture and Human Rights: Options for the Integration of the Right to Food into the Agreement on Agriculture

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