UNCTAD: Supachai Panitchpakdi Calls for the Phase-out of Agricultural Subsidies

3 June 2008: In his address to the High-Level Conference on

World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, which

convened from 3-5 June 2008, in Rome, Italy, the Secretary-General of the UN

Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Supachai Panitchpakdi, criticized

subsidized exports from the developed world, noting that many former net

exporters of food in Africa, Asia and Latin America are now net importers as a

result of the market distortions caused by the subsidies.

“We at UNCTAD believe that the current food crisis is

ultimately a development crisis,” he said, adding that current high prices

provide a good opportunity to phase-out agricultural support and subsidies in

the developed world through the Doha Round of world trade negotiations.

Panitchpakdi also called for increasing official development assistance to the

agricultural sector and financing the necessary infrastructure, especially

transport and logistics networks, for transporting food.  [Statement]