The first day of the World Trade Organisation’s summit in Hong Kong has seen an unholy spat between European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and the UN World Food Programme, which he accuses of supporting American food aid programmes he considers disguised dumping schemes.


Mandelson was responding to an advertisement taken out in the Financial Times, of London, where it called on WTO members to adopt a liberal definition of food aid in any Doha Development Round agreement, allowing exporting nations to respond to hunger emergencies. Mandelson considered this a criticism of EU plans to keep this definition tight. Germany’s Deutsche Welle reported him saying: “The large structured US programme of food aid in kind is designed in reality to give support to US agricultural producers”.