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Trends in the International Agricultural Situation

  Because of rapid economic development and population growth in mainland China, India, and other emerging economies, global demand for food has sharply increased. In addition, many countries have been promoting biomass energy, a policy which has driven up demand for corn and other biomass-energy crops, lending further momentum to the trend of increasing prices for food. In terms of food supply, because the major grain exporting countries have been impacted by global warming and extreme weather events, production has fallen. As a result, international food prices have continually risen, and the issue of “food security” is garnering increased attention from governments around the world. It is for this reason that the Council of Agriculture (COA) has strongly encouraged APEC to strengthen its multi-year program to create a public-private partnership to reduce food losses in the supply chain. We hope, through cooperation among the various economies in APEC, to ensure regional food security.

  In addition, the Doha Round of the WTO remains completely stalled even after 11 years of negotiations. In recent years there has been an ever-growing trend around the world for countries to sign free trade agreements. In particular, countries in the Asia- Pacific region have been especially active in promoting the “Trans Pacific Partnership” and “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” mechanisms. All governments today must deal with the issue of how to ensure stability and sustainability in the agricultural sector in the face of economic liberalization.