Doha: Pascal Lamy's Theses and Figures Questioned by the Conclusions of a Group of International Economists



    PARIS, June 16 /CNW/ -

    - While Some States Envisage a "New Approach" to Resume the Doha Round,
the Theses and Figures Put Forward by Pascal Lamy were Contested at the end of
the International Workshop Organized at the Sorbonne on June 4th and 5th by
momagri's Head Economist
    Bertrand Munier, University Professor and Chief Economist at momagri,
stated at the end of this workshop: "agricultural price volatility, the impact
of speculation and the progress made in understanding agricultural markets,
questions the WTO's liberalization strategy on agricultural markets."

    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081013/324331 )

    Thus, the thirty economists present from the IMF, FAO, World Bank, OECD,
American universities, think tanks, and different government departments, have
reached a general consensus on two main points:

    
    -   the international community's long sidestepping of the issue of the
        volatile prices of staple agricultural products, could exacerbate
        food insecurity,

    -   the current economic models that guide international decisions are
        unable to make sense of this reality.
    

    Hence the importance of building a new international economic model,
according to Shyama Ramani, Professor at the University of Maastricht. This
model must faithfully include current agricultural issues: price volatility,
the financialization of the markets and their consequences on food security.
The momagri model meets these demands for improved realism. This is why Peter
Timmer, Professor at Harvard University and Economist at the Bill Gates
Foundation, labeled it as "the first of its kind, that we cannot ignore" in
assessing the impact of a liberalization policy on agricultural markets .
    How then, can Pascal Lamy so arbitrarily justify the figure of 150
billion dollars in profit (or 7 cents per person, per day) if an agreement is
reached in Doha? For he is referring to current models, which do not consider
the impact of risks, price volatility, or speculation on financialized
markets, which are essential to the agricultural economic analysis.
    Lets us not forget that what is at stake behind these negotiations, is
the survival of close to a billion people who suffer from hunger, as well as
the survival of more than 40% of the world population that live from
agriculture. As Edi Karni, Professor at Johns Hopkins University recalled, it
is urgent to return to negotiations that finally take full measures for the
risks facing agricultural markets.
    Results of the latest simulations of the momagri model
    In this respect, the latest simulations by the momagri model have shaken
the belief that a conclusion of the Doha Round would benefit all farmers, in
particular, those in developing countries. Worse, they show that complete
unregulated liberalization of international agricultural trade could lead to:

    
    -   a significant reduction in the revenues of farmers from the poorest
        countries, (in some scenarios the reduction could be more than half,
        and therefore, likely to ruin many farmers in these countries)

    -   a lesser underlying reduction, but very significant for emerging
        importing countries such as India

    -   a significant erosion of the revenues of farmers from developed
        countries. Consequently, instead of encouraging the optimization of
        factors of production, it would jeopardize worldwide food security,
        as well as the development of many countries.
    

    Only emerging exporting countries, such as Brazil, will be able to come
out unscathed, but without compensating for the general reduction in
production.

    About momagri

    momagri is a Paris-based think tank that promotes a new vision for
agriculture. Founded and chaired by Pierre Pagesse, Chairman of the French
Groupe Limagrain, the organization includes representatives of agricultural
enterprises and officials from the healthcare, economic development, strategy
and defense fields. It aims to support the regulation of agricultural markets
by way of new evaluation tools (such as economic models and indicators) and
new proposals for an international agriculture and food governance based on
free-trade principles.

    
    http://www.momagri.org

    Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081013/324331
    





For further information:

For further information: Dominique Lasserre, +33-1-43-06-42-70,
dominique.lasserre@momagri.org

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