Evaluating Nairobi: What Does the Outcome Mean for Trade in Food and Farm Goods?
On 19 December 2015, members of the World Trade Organization reached agreement on the “Nairobi Package” – a declaration and a set of decisions on a range of topics on the multilateral trade agenda. One of the most significant areas in which members achieved progress relates to trade in food and agricultural goods, including on long-standing farm trade issues such as export subsidies, food aid, and cotton. At the same time, some of the agreements reached in Nairobi took the form of commitments to continue negotiations, as was the case with the decision on a "special safeguard mechanism" and on a permanent solution to the problems some countries have said they face in buying food at administered prices as part of their public stockholding programmes for food security purposes.
Trade negotiators in Geneva – as well as the broader trade and development policy community – now need to assess properly the implications of the Nairobi outcome on food and farm goods, and what this could mean for future talks on trade. This compilation of short pieces therefore intends to provide policy-makers, negotiators, and other stakeholders with an impartial, evidence-based analysis of the potential trade, food security, and rural development implications of the agriculture outcomes of the WTO's Nairobi ministerial conference and to help them situate these in the longer-term systemic context.