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Cabinet gives ex-post facto nod to Indian position at WTO

Cabinet gives ex-post facto nod to Indian position at WTO
January 04
10:02 2018

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave ex-post facto approval to the stand adopted by India at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) ministerial meeting in Argentina last month that concluded without an agreement because of lack of consensus on the public food stockholding issue.

The four-day talks at the WTO 11th ministerial conference (MC11) broke down as the US reneged on its commitment, along with other countries, to find a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding by members of the multilateral trade body.

“Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to the note submitted by the Department of Commerce and approved the approach by India at the eleventh ministerial conference of the WTO,” a Finance Ministry release said here.

“The mandate exercised and approach adopted at the ministerial conference was aimed at protecting India’s interests, priorities and concerns,” it said.

Under the WTO norms, a member-country’s food subsidy bill should not breach the limit of 10 per cent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.

India has been seeking amendments to this formula, fearing that full implementation of its food security programme may result in breaching of the WTO subsidy limit.

The 2013 WTO ministerial meeting in Bali in Indonesia had decided to put in place the Peace Clause as an interim measure, and had agreed to negotiate a permanent solution at the 11th ministerial conference in Buenos Aires.

At the Buenos Aires meeting, India continued to press for the reduction of farm subsidies by developed countries and resisted inclusion of new issues on the negotiating table in case these dilute the commitment to complete the existing agenda.

“This has the potential to irreversibly damage the credibility of the WTO as a ministerial decision of all countries present in Nairobi has not been honoured,” the Ministry added.

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