India makes strong food security arguments at WTO summit in UAE

India during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiation session this week on agriculture, made a strong and compelling argument to finalise the permanent solution to public stockholding (PSH) and deliver this outcome at the Ministerial Conference (MC13), as this has been pending for 11 years.

India recalled the three mandates on PSH from the Bali Ministerial Decision of 2013, the General Council Decision of 2014, and the Nairobi Ministerial Decision of 2015.

"India argued that the focus should not be narrowed down to the trade interests of exporting countries only, the real concern is the food security and livelihood of people. India emphasised that without a permanent solution on PSH, the most critical and long-pending mandated issue at the WTO, developing countries' fight against hunger cannot be won," the official statement said.

India highlighted that the significance of this issue was so high that more than 80 countries representing more than 61 per cent of the world's population from the G33 group of countries, the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) and the African Groups have co-sponsored a proposal on this subject.

India also recalled the vast differences in the actual per-farmer domestic support provided by different countries, as notified to the WTO.

"Some developed countries provide subsidies that are 200 times than the subsidies provided by the developing countries. It was the membership's duty to ensure a level playing field in international agriculture trade for millions of low-income or resource-poor farmers," the statement added.

India reiterated its preference for adopting a sequential approach. First and foremost, a permanent solution to the PSH has to be delivered. After that, it is important to protect the treaty-embedded Special and Differential Treatment provisions in the Agreement on Agriculture.

India stated that any derogation in this regard would be unacceptable. After that, if any discussion on the reduction of domestic support commitments takes place, the process should start with eliminating subsidies for countries that provide massive subsidies on a per capita basis. 


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