Millions of poor farmers in developing countries cannot earn a living because of cheap, often dumped, food imports. The world’s most important basic food, rice, shows the seriousness of the problem. Rich countries have long used the IMF and World Bank, and aggressive bilateral trade deals, to push open the door of poor countries’ markets to a flood of cheap rice, including heavily subsidised rice from the US. Now rich countries plan to use the binding rules of the WTO to kick that door down altogether. But trade rules must promote development, not undermine it. Any new WTO deal must ensure that poor countries can regulate trade to promote food security and rural livelihoods.
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