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Australia hails India, US agreement on food security

Melbourne, Nov 14 (PTI) Hailing the agreement reached between India and the US aimed at resolving the stalemate over the WTO trade facilitation pact, Australia today said the gains from the deal once it is sealed are “significant” and the developing nations would be its biggest beneficiaries.

The US agreed to India’s proposal on food security issues at WTO yesterday, a development that will pave the way for a breakthrough to end the three-month long stalemate.

The agreement came two days ahead of the G20 Summit in Australia, which will be attended by Prime Minister Modi and other world leaders including US President Barack Obama.

Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb hailed the agreement between India and the US, saying “The benefits set to flow from implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation are significant.”

“The OECD estimates that the Agreement will reduce trade costs for WTO members by between 11 and 15 per cent. The Agreement is of particular benefit for developing nations, who will see the biggest gains with more than 21 million jobs expected to be created worldwide as a result of its implementation,” he said.

“This development should also enable us to deliver on other agreements ministers reached in Bali in 2013, and to implement all elements of the Bali package, including commitments on food security. It should also unlock discussions on developing the WTO’s forward agenda and a post-Bali work programme,” Robb said.

The Agreement on Trade Facilitation was a key outcome from the Bali WTO Ministerial Conference held in December 2013, and was due to be adopted by WTO Members in July 2014. However the July deadline passed after a small number of WTO members blocked adoption of the Protocol of Amendment required to open the Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

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