Free Trade Fact of the Day

Conn Carroll /

The rapid rise in the price of food staples like corn, wheat, soybeans, and rice has strained the ability of people in developing countries to feed their families. Hunger related unrest has broken out in Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti, and Somalia. Today, world leaders are meeting in Rome for a Summit on world hunger. A big part of the short and long term solution to the crisis: more free trade. ABC News reports:

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told world leaders Tuesday …that nations must minimize export restrictions and import tariffs during the food price crisis and quickly resolve world trade talks.

“Some countries have taken action by limiting exports or by imposing price controls,” Ban said. “They only distort markets and force prices even higher.”
The increasing diversion of food and animal feed to produce biofuel, and sharply higher fuel costs have also helped to shoot prices upward, experts say.
The United Nations is encouraging summit participants to start undoing a decades-long legacy of agricultural and trade policies that many blame for the failure of small farmers in poor countries to feed their own people.