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Food Production, Food Imports, and the WTO's Special and Differential Provisions to Trade: The Case of Pacific Island Countries

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This paper examines the extent of food production, imports, and trade policy opportunities in terms of the special and differential treatment (SDT) in Pacific Island countries (PICs). It is revealed that stagnating per capita incomes and high incidence of poverty are lowering the quality of life among a significant proportion of the PIC population. PICs' well-being is likely to be further worsened by falling and stagnating food production and significant rises in food prices as a result of food imports that range between 14 to 29 percent of total imports. PICs' future development is likely to be hampered by the looming economic fallout arising from regional integration. Thus, ensuring food self-sufficiency is essential for improved well-being. In this regard, the PICs window of opportunity is to maximize the utility of the SDT under the World Trade Organisations (WTO) provisions. Urgent governmental attention is required in terms of calibrating regional country-specific composite measures of trade and development parameters so as to allow the capacity of the PICs to bargain for the SDT with greater clarity, strength and meaning.

Affiliations: 1: The University of the South Pacific, School of Economics, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji;, Email:


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