14 December 2022

Sustainable Agriculture and Trade

TESS convened an invitation-only deep dive roundtable on key aspects of the trade and sustainable agriculture interface, providing an opportunity for inclusive dialogue on key topics for attention.

This one and a half day in person "deep dive" brought together government officials from both developed and developing countries with leading experts from think tanks and international organizations in an informal and off-the-record setting. It provided an opportunity for in-depth discussions on key topics for attention, including:

  • the critical sustainability aspects on the trade and agriculture interface, including from social, economic and environmental perspectives;
  • recent trends in key commodities related to trade and sustainability concerns;
  • rhe role of trade policies in fostering sustainable agriculture production and trade, including issues related to standards, regulations, market access, and subsidies; and
  • options for advancing deliberations on sustainable agriculture at the multilateral level while ensuring a broad-based support among WTO members.


14 December

Welcome & Introductory Remarks

  • Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, TESS

Session 1: Setting the Scene

This session reviewed key trends in agricultural markets and the evolution of the geography and composition of trade flows, as well as key players in agricultural markets. It also provided an overview of the economic role and benefits of ecosystem services, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture and their relevance to sustainable food systems. Finally, it reviewed the relationship between sustainable food systems and the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how these concerns are addressed under different international policy processes including the climate and biodiversity regimes.

Discussion Starters

  • Ekaterina Krivonos, Trade and Markets Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Click HERE for Ekaterina Krivonos' presentation.

  • Maria Julia Oliva, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Edwini Kessie, Agriculture & Commodities Division, World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Rainer Lanz, Trade and Environment Division, WTO
  • Marianne Kettunen, TESS

Click HERE for Marianne Kettunen's presentation.

Open discussion among delegates

Session 2: Agricultural Trade and Key Sustainability Challenges

This session examined the relationship between international food and agriculture trade and critical sustainability challenges in the food system. In particular, it explored the relevance of trade and trade policies to achieving SDGs related to food, agriculture, and sustainability, including goals on poverty elimination, zero hunger, global health, responsible production and consumption, climate action, and life on land.

Discussion Starters

  • Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): Agricultural trade, food security, and livelihoods
Click HERE for Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla's presentation.
  • James Vause, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC): Agricultural trade, biodiversity, and deforestation
Click HERE for James Vause's presentation.
  • Vicky Chemutai, World Bank: Agricultural trade, climate mitigation, and adaptation
  • Anne Marie Thow, University of Sydney: Agricultural trade, health, and nutrition

Open discussion among delegates

Session 3: Focus on Key Commodities

This session reviewed key trade and sustainability concerns along value chains for selected commodities. It provided an overview of the geography and composition of existing trade flow under each of these value chains, the main policies and measures affecting production and trade, as well as the different sustainability challenges and opportunities for these value chains.

Discussion Starters

  • Mariana Bombo Perozzi Gameiro, independent consultant: Bovine meat
Click HERE for Mariana Bombo Perozzi Gameiro's presentation.
  • Raul Q. Montemayor, Federation of Free Farmers and Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives: Rice
Click HERE for Raul Montemayor's presentation.
  • Rodrigo Carcamo-Diaz, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD): Cotton
Click HERE for Rodrigo Carcamo-Diaz's presentation.
  • Jurgen Peci, School of Agriculture Policy & Development, University of Reading: Palm oil
Click HERE for Jurgen Peci's presentation.
  • Susan Oliveira, International Institute for Sustainability (IIS‐Rio): Soybean

Click HERE for Susan Oliveira's presentation.

Open discussion among delegates

Session 4: Focus on Key Trade Policy Instruments and Relevance for Sustainability

This session provided an update on trade policies and measures affecting agricultural trade including border measures, domestic support measures, and other economic incentives, as well as regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures. In doing so, it reviewed the evolution of the global trade policy landscape with a focus on unilateral measures, regional trade agreements and multilateral cooperation, as well as the proliferation of private voluntary standards and supply chain initiatives. In each case, speakers reflected on the implications for sustainability.

Session 4a: Border Measures, Tariffs, TRQs, Export Restrictions

Discussion Starters

  • Florencia Sarmiento, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Click HERE for Florencia Sarmiento's presentation.

  • Joseph Wozniak, International Trade Centre, (ITC)

Click HERE for Joseph Wozniak's presentation.

Open discussion among delegates

15 December 

Session 4: Focus on Key Trade Policy Instruments (cont.)

Session 4b: Domestic Support Programmes and Agricultural Sustainability

Discussion Starters

  • Claire Potdevin, Fiscal Policy Expert, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
Click HERE for Claire Potdevin's presentation.
  • Christophe Bellmann, TESS

Click HERE for Christophe Bellmann's presentation.

Open discussion among delegates

Session 5: Next Steps

This session provided an opportunity for an open discussion to assess possible options to advance inclusive international cooperation on sustainable agriculture in different venues in a way that effectively contributes to addressing critical sustainability challenges and ensures a broad-based participation of WTO Members.

Discussion Starters

  • Dan Esty, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
  • David Vivas-Eugui, United Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Facundo Calvo, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Vice Yu, FACT Dialogue Secretariat

Click HERE for Vice Yu's presentation.

Open discussion among delegates

Concluding Remarks