Food export bans feeds problems, some say

June 30, 2008 at 10:34 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, June 30 (UPI) -- Grain export bans enacted by India, Vietnam, China, Bolivia and other countries are only partly effective in holding down prices, experts said.

The export bans help steady prices in the countries that enact them but "fuel the fire of price increases" for importing nations, Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization told The New York Times.

With food prices rising, 14 countries have restricted or banned rice exports. Fifteen have done the same with wheat exports and more than a dozen have clamped down on corn exports, the Times reported Monday.

The hoarding has triggered panic buying and disrupted supply lines for relief organizations, the Times reported.

The World Food Program had to find a new supplier for wheat when Pakistan began a ban of wheat exports, causing temporary disruption of supplies increases intended for Somalia and Afghanistan, the Times said.

"We're having trouble buying the stocks we need for emergency operations," Executive Director of the World Food Program Josette Sheeran told the Times.

"One country's act to promote food security is another country's food insecurity," U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab told the Times.

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