• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Food trade became a contentious issue in the global trade negotiations the GATT in the 1980s and then in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The course will explore how the conflicts in food trade emerged and developed to provide an understanding of the current challenges to the global food trading system. The historical developments within the global food trading regime have had an important influence on the ongoing negotiations in the WTO’s Doha Development Round. When the Agreement on Agriculture was adopted in 1994, surplus production and depressed prices characterised the world market for food. Market liberalisation was seen as the solution to this problem. Since 2007, the market situation has changed dramatically as prices have increased significantly, causing food crises in 2007/08 and 2011 and raising concerns about food security. This market development was not envisaged in the Agreement on Agriculture and has led a number of developing countries to request more flexibility to protect their domestic markets in order to stabilise domestic food prices. This has challenged the market liberal idea underpinning the Agreement of Agriculture and caused severe difficulties in the ongoing Doha Round negotiations. Further, the proliferation of retailer led private food standard schemes has resulted in challenges to the WTO’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) which was aimed at harmonising domestic food safety and biosecurity policy measures to create a level playing field for food trade. The private schemes are causing increasing concern amongst food exporting developing countries since they increase production costs. To understand the architecture of the global food trading regime and its current challenges, the course will provide an introduction to analytical frameworks which can be applied to analyse the dynamics and outcomes of international trade negotiations. Applying these frameworks, the course will discuss the current challenges to the global food trading regime and how they affect domestic agricultural and food safety policy making.

The course is research-led. The students are introduced to cutting-edge research on the dynamics of the international food trade negotiations and their impacts on global and domestic food, agricultural and trade policy measures. On the basis of this research-led foundation of the course, the students will engage in individual research aiming at generating new knowledge on the trading regime and it impacts.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On completion of this course, the students are able to:
  1. Analyse the architecture of the global food trading regime,
  2. Demonstrate its history and the latest developments as well as the challenges to it,
  3. Explain and reflect critically on selected analytical frameworks which can be applied to analyse the dynamics and outcomes of international trade negotiations, and
  4. Apply and evaluate these in analyses of agricultural and food trade issues.

Indicative Assessment

Policy analysis: 30%

Problem statement for policy research project: 5%

Policy Research Project (65%)

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Preliminary Reading

See course outline


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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