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Going from One Extreme to the Other: Food Security and Export Restrictions in the EU–CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement


  • Giovanni Gruni

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    • DPhil Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. The author wishes to thank Francis Snyder, Imelda Maher, Anne Davies and the participants of the International Workshop for Young Scholars (WISH) conference for their helpful comments on early drafts of this paper. The author is also indebted to Mark Freedland, Stephen Weatherill, Silvana Sciarra and Sandra Fredman for their valuable observations on the drafts of the research project of which this paper is an extract. The usual disclaimer applies.


Between 2007 and 2008, the price of several basic food products spiked suddenly, leaving millions of people without economic access to sufficient food. During the crisis, World Trade Organization (WTO) law was unable to avoid that the use of export restrictions by influential exporting countries jeopardises food security in vulnerable states. A recent trade agreement between the EU and a group of Caribbean countries includes innovative clauses that prohibit export restrictions altogether. This article argues that the prohibition to use export restrictions contained in this agreement is an excessively restrictive solution that does not solve the problems that emerged during the global food crisis. The article concludes with a reflection on the limits of WTO law and the trade policy of the EU with regard to the improvement of food security in vulnerable countries.