India to put pressure on WTO to focus on food security issues

India to put pressure on WTO to focus on food security issues

  • India has decided to increase pressure on the World Trade Organisation to expedite negotiations on food security matters to ensure that these are not thrust to background at next Ministerial meet in Buenos Aires in December.
  • All issues related to food security were ignored at last Ministerial meet in Nairobi two years ago with the excuse that members held divergent positions.
  • The Ministry will carry out a stock-taking exercise of all developments at the WTO post-Nairobi and decide how to move ahead.
  • New Delhi will also have to work out how to ensure the continuation of the ongoing Doha round of talks, with several development issues on the agenda, that many want developed countries want scrapped.
  • The line to take on new issues such as e-commerce and environment being pushed by rich countries also has to be firmed up.
  • India and other members of the G-33 group of developing countries in agriculture have been trying to push the WTO into starting work on a special safeguard mechanism (SSM) to protect farmers in developing countries and a permanent solution to the public stockholding programme for a while.
  • At Nairobi Ministerial meet, all members agreed to work on a SSM for developing countries that would enable them to raise import duties on agriculture items in case imports rose steeply or there was a sharp fall in domestic prices.
  • The Nairobi declaration also stated that meetings must be held in an “accelerated time frame” to arrive at a permanent solution to the problem of public stockholding which is necessary to avoid a situation when such programs get penalised.

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