WTO should go for 'back-to-back' meetings: India

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    Reiterating its tough stand, India has suggested that WTO should go for 'back-to-back' meetings for a permanent solution to its food security issues and review the progress in October.

    India has made it clear that it will not adopt the protocol on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) without an assurance and visible outcomes on finding a permanent solution to its public food stock holding issue for food security purposes.

    "India is suggesting that let us start work in the right earnest on these issues and review the progress in October. The Committee on Agriculture can do back-to-back meetings or special session dedicated for this purpose," a senior Commerce Ministry official said.

    India is going to state its stand in the ongoing General Council meeting in Geneva.

    After the emergence of differences between developed countries such as the US, Australia, Europe and emerging economies including India and South Africa, it is clear that the deadline of July 31 to adopt the protocol on TFA will be missed.

    "We can defer the time. Time lines are important, but they are not sacrosanct at the cost of the interest of a large humanity which lives below poverty line. We are not saying that we want to postpone it to eternity, no, not at all," the official said.

    On the allegations of the developed world that India is blocking that WTO's Bali deal, the official said: "we have not blocked the deal. If that will be the interpretation, God knows how many times WTO has been blocked".

    Due to deadlock on several issues, WTO has missed many deadlines in concluding the Doha Round of talks.

    "No body said that WTO was blocked in 2006, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013. Every time some country mainly developed country put its foot down and said no" the official added.

    "There are good enough reasons emanating from capitals of some countries and in Geneva for us to believe that TFA onces harvested, the interest in the remaining part of the Bali package is substantially diluted," the official said.

    Last year, during the ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Bali, members including India agreed on package comprising an agreement on TFA and issues relating to agriculture and development.

    India had also stated that it is not against TFA as the pact is in the interest of countries who engage in international trade.

    "Food security is not an issues which is an esoteric issues, it is a relevant and real issue," the official added.

    The General Council of the 160-member WTO will find it difficult to adopt the TFA without India's approval.

    PTI

    Read more about: wto food security
    Story first published: Monday, July 28, 2014, 9:44 [IST]
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