The primary purpose of this article is to consider whether the dispute between the advocates of agricultural trade liberalization and the proponents of insuring food security inevitably must end in a deadlock, or whether their negotiators should be able to find common ground within the basic framework of the existing rules-oriented system of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This analysis begins with a review of the current agricultural trade system, which insulates that sector of trade from GATT's mainstream trade-discipline rules. Sections II and III trace the origins of these rules and exceptions by reviewing the Western allies' post–World War II international economic objectives, the incompatible national farm policies of many GATT contracting parties (primarily the United States) that threatened GATT's viability at several points in its history, and other factors that removed agricultural trade from GATT's mainstream. The analysis then moves on to an evaluation of competing economic efficiency and food security objectives in Section IV. To the extent possible, the economic costs of distorting natural agricultural trade flows are quantified and compared to the unquantifiable risks that nations incur when they cannot guarantee adequate supplies of food from domestic sources during international crises. Finally, Sections V and VI consider whether GATT's mainstream trade-discipline rules, or adaptations of those rules, could accommodate both GATT's basic economic efficiency objectives and many contracting parties' legitimate food security objectives.
Robert L. McGeorge,
Accommodating Food Security Concerns in a World of Comparative Advantage: A Challenge for GATT's International Trade System,
71 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol71/iss2/3