Monday, May 13, 2013

Pressure building to reform U.S. AID

Cornell professor Chris Barrett is one of the few people who know exactly how the United States food aid program to the world works – to benefit American companies. He doesn’t like it. He says "it is time for the government to respond to disasters abroad the way you and I do: generously, promptly and efficiently. The time for food aid reform is now." The Obama administration’s 2014 budget would end requirements that the food aid be from the United States, shipped in U.S.-registered vessels and handled by union members. Barret says the reforms are opposed by agribusiness, shippers, and a few international development organizations. He says there really is no good economic or humanitarian reason to oppose the Obama administration’s proposed reforms. All of the reforms would become mandatory if the proposals on the table at the World Trade Organization negotiations were signed, not stalled in limbo. Canada already complies with all of the proposals, and has done so for many years.