Free Press Journal

WTO:India says no to TFA without resolving food security issue


New Delhi: In a strong message to the WTO, India today said it will not ratify the trade facilitation pact until a permanent solution is found on food security and other issues of poor nations impacting livelihood of millions.

“To jeopardise the food security of millions at the altar of a mere anomaly in the rules is unacceptable,” India said in the two-day General Council meeting that concluded in Geneva.

With India taking a strong stand, it will now be difficult for the developed nations to push their agenda of implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

With this deadlock, the WTO will miss another deadline to implement a pact. The world trade body is scheduled to ratify the TFA till July 31.

“In order to fully understand and address the concerns of members on TFA, my delegation is of the view that the adoption of the TF protocol be postponed till a permanent solution on public stock holding for food security is found,” the Indian Ambassador to the WTO Anjali Prasad said.

Regretting that in the last seven months no progress has been made on the public stock-holding for food security purposes, India said: “We do not have the required confidence and trust that there will be constructive engagement on issues that impact the livelihood of a very significant part of the global population.”

Amendment to World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms regarding stockpile of foodgrains is critical for India for implementation of its food security programme.

The current WTO norms limit the value of food subsidies at 10 per cent of the total value of food grain production. However, the support is calculated at the prices that are over two-decade old and not at current prices.

India is asking for a change in the base year (1986) for calculating the food subsidies. The US gives about USD 120 billion as agriculture subsidy as compared to India’s USD 12 billion.

The final protocol for the TFA, which is dear to the developed world, including the US and Australia, was concluded by the WTO members, but no single meeting has happened on India’s food security related issues.