India and US resolve impasse over food security; to open way for implementation of Trade Facilitation Pact at WTO

New Delhi: India and US have successfully resolved differences on public stockholding issue for food security purposes in WTO, paving the way for implementation of trade facilitation pacts at WTO.

India and US resolve impasse over food security; to open way for implementation of Trade Facilitation Pact at WTO

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, ” India and US have resolved impasse over food security issues in WTO. WTO General Council will receive India’s proposal and US will support us.”

This will “pave the way for spurring the WTO to more such success,” she said, while expressing confidence that members would “take the matter forward in WTO in a constructive spirit”.

“There was a greater understanding of India’s position after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US,” she added.

The Minister further said that many nations saw merit in India’s stand at WTO and that the US has also “appreciated and now openly supported our concerns on public stockholding.” “India has never obstructed trade facilitation. We were only trying to safeguard our farmer’s interests,” she added.

“India is a strong supporter of the multilateral trading system and is committed to strengthening it and ensuring that the WTO remains a key pillar of the global economic edifice. The WTO is in the best interest of developing countries, especially the poorest, most marginalized ones among them and we are determined to work to strengthen this institution,” said a statement realeased by Commerce and Industry Minister.

At the end of July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pulled the plug on implementing a Trade Facilitation Agreement struck in Bali last year, linking it to the emotive issue of rural poverty in his country of 1.25 billion people.

India had wanted indefinitely to extend a ‘peace clause’ to protect a subsidised food distribution scheme until the WTO can strike a definitive deal on stockpiling. In Bali, the WTO agreed that the clause would expire in four years.

The trade row had isolated Asia’s third-largest economy and plunged the WTO into its worst crisis in two decades, as countries led by the United States considered abandoning the principle of consensus under which the 160-nation group works.