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WTO: India says no TFA without solving food security issue


Deeply concerned over slow progress in finding a permanent solution to the food security issue, India in a stern message to WTO members

WTONew Delhi: Deeply concerned over slow progress in finding a permanent solution to the food security issue, India in a stern message to WTO members said it would not be possible to agree on trade facilitation pact which is dear to the developed world.

“There is a growing disenchantment, anguish and anger in our domestic constituencies and a sense of deja vu as once again they see the interests of developing countries being subordinated to the might of the developed world,” India has said in its statement at a meeting of WTO members in Geneva.

With the developed countries attempting to sideline the Bali package on food security programmes of developing nations and issues of the least developed countries (LDCs), the whole matter may now result in Doha type of stalemate.

India has made it clear that it would not agree to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) unless there is a “tangible and credible evidence of movement” on arriving at a permanent solution on safeguards to run food security programmes of developing nations without attracting any penalty and a package for LDCs.

India has stated that the pace of implementation of the Bali decisions has been heavily skewed in favour of trade facilitation and virtually all other decisions have been relegated to the background. “This is unacceptable”.

In the WTO’s Ministerial meeting in Bali in December last year, members have agreed to finalise on TFA and find a permanent solution to unhindered implementation of food security scheme so that these programmes do not attract any multilateral scrutiny.

“We are deeply concerned that the (Bali) ministerial decision on public stockholding for food security purposes is getting sidelined,” it has said.

A senior official in the Commerce Ministry said: “India will not be able to lend itself to the consensus on TF protocol unless there is a tangible, credible evidence of movement on other parts of the Bali package which includes primarily ours public stock holding and LDC issues”.

The TFA, which aims at simplifying customs procedure, increasing transparency and reducing transactions cost, is being pushed by the US and other developed world as they seek to bolster their sagging economies through an unhindered international trade by way of a uniform and easy procedures at customs.

“Till we have an assurance and visible outcomes which convince developing countries that members will engage in negotiations with commitment to finding a permanent solution on public stockholding and other Bali deliverables, especially those for the LDCs, India will find it difficult to join the consensus on the protocol of amendment (for TFA),” India has said in its statement.

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