WTO impasse ends: India, US reach agreement on food subsidies
New Delhi: India has reached an agreement with the United States on public stockpiling of food, paving the way for the implementation of a global trade facilitation deal that has been stalled for months, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.
“India and the United States have resolved their impasse over food security issues in #WTO. India's proposal now to go for ratification by WTO General Council; US will support it," she said.
The minister expressed hopes that the approval of the proposal would clear the way for India to sign a protocol enabling implementation of the trade accord.
"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," she said.
The minister said that India had opposed the Trade Facilitation Agreement only because some of the WTO rules were proving to be a hinderance to the Indian government's policy for food security.
"Many countries saw merit in what we were asking for. India was never isolated or alone. Others weren't speaking up," she said.
Countries including South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela and other emerging economies had supported India's stand.
In 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.