Agriculture and Its Discontents: Coalitional Politics at the wto with Special Reference to India’s Food Security Interests

In: International Negotiation
J.P. Singh School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, George Mason University 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, va USA

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Surupa Gupta Department of Political Science and International Affairs, University of Mary Washington 1301 College Avenue, Fredericksburg, va USA

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The demise of the Doha round of trade negotiations is often attributed to deadlocks in agricultural negotiations between the developed and the developing world. Why has agriculture been so difficult to negotiate? This article explains North-South agricultural negotiations through the lens of coalition politics, especially the shift from bloc to issue-based diplomacy from the developing world. We argue against the proposition in the negotiation literature that multiple coalitions at the international level allow negotiators room to maneuver. Our study shows that bloc coalitions in fact allowed for compromise more than issue-based coalitions in agriculture, which are often supported by strong domestic constituencies. Empirically, the article focuses on the Uruguay Round when the North and South struck an agreement on agriculture and the Doha Round, which remains deadlocked. The article also provides an in-depth case study of India’s agricultural interests and its food security program in the context of the wto.

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