WTO deal- India, US agree on food stockpiling

In what can pave the way for the implementation of a global trade facilitation deal that has been stalled for months, India has reached an agreement with the United States on public stockpiling of food on Thursday.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, 'India and the United States have resolved their differences on public stockholding of food. This opens the way for implementation of the WTO trade facilitation deal.'

The deadlock was on account of India's refusal to ratify it. India decided not to sign the protocol of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), concluded at the Bali ministerial conference of the WTO held in December last year. Sitharaman said that India had opposed the Trade Facilitation Agreement only because some of the WTO rules were proving to be a hindrance to the Indian government’s policy for food security.

Adding that there was a greater understanding of India's position after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, Sitharaman said, 'WTO General Council will receive India's proposal and US will support us.'

Denying that India was isolated at WTO owing to the refusal to ratify earlier, she said, 'Many countries saw merit in what we were asking for. India was never isolated or alone. Others weren’t speaking up.' Countries including South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela and other emerging economies had supported India's stand.

Asserting that India would continue to back the implementation of the global trade agreement, Sitharaman added, 'India has never obstructed trade facilitation. We were only trying to safeguard our farmer's interests.'

Courtesy Niti Central

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