It seems all of sudden, the world is facing a food crisis. Food prices are rising and food shortages growing in different parts of the world. According to news reports, many food producing countries have recently imposed ban, quota or taxes on the export of rice, wheat, barley, and soybeans, including Brazil, Argentina,Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The situation has prompted the United Nations, World Bank, IMF and WTO to issue a joint call for countries to lift export restrictions on agricultural products.
WTO members may impose temporary export restrictions on foodstuffs under GATT XI:2(a) and, if the member is a developed country, in compliance with the notification requirement under the Agricultural Agreement, art. 12. It appears, therefore, that the above identified countries are within their rights to impose the export restrictions.
The question I have is: if the food shortages are not temporary but structural in nature, as indicated by some experts, then how would this situation affect the Doha negotiations on agriculture? Indeed, here is an interesting article from AFP: "Food crisis sparks role reversal in WTO".