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'US looking forward to implementation of Bali package'

PTI 13 Nov 2014, 14:40:18 PM IST

Washington: Following an agreement with India to resolve the contentious food security issue at the World Trade Organization, the US today said it now looked forward to the full implementation of the Bali package to enhance global trade.

“The agreement announced today between the US and India paves the way for full implementation of the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)...The agreement also reflects shared understandings regarding the WTO's work on food security,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement.

“We now look forward to working with all WTO members and with Director-General Roberto Azevedo to reach a consensus that enables full implementation of all elements of the landmark Bali Package, including the TFA”, he added.

In a separate statement, the USTR said both India and US have reached an understanding on implementation of a December 2013 WTO decision regarding specific food security programmes maintained by some developing countries.

“The bilateral agreement makes it clear that a mechanism under which WTO members will not challenge such food security programmes under WTO dispute settlement procedures will remain in place until a permanent solution regarding this issue has been agreed and adopted.

“It also sets out elements for an intensified programme of work and negotiations to arrive at such a permanent solution”, it said.

Meanwhile, Froman said with the WTO confronting a mounting crisis of confidence, US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held productive discussions on this issue, including during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Washington in September.

“In recent days, officials of both governments worked intensively and reached an agreement that should give new momentum to multilateral efforts at the WTO. In doing so, the US and India reaffirm their joint commitment to the success and credibility of the WTO,” he added.

As decision-making in the WTO is based on consensus among all members, the elements agreed between the US and India will now be discussed with the full WTO membership in the interest of arriving at final and simultaneously-agreed decisions in the very near future, the statement said.

The WTO's highest decision making body — General Council is expected to deliberate on the agreement in the second week of December.