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India seeks African countries’ support for its stand at the WTO

New Delhi, Aug 21 India Thursday sought cooperation from African countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the issue of food security and trade facilitation.

According to Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher, the Indian stand at the WTO deliberations on the trade facilitation agreement was supported by the G-33 and endorsed by 46 countries, including several countries from Africa.

“India, therefore, was not the sole country in the fray,” Kher said.

The commerce secretary observed that there were 21 countries in the world which use public stockholding for food security purposes and many more countries are expected to resort to the same in the future.

“Most of these countries could possibly violate the de minimis levels that were agreed upon in WTO,” Kher said.

On the growth of the India-Africa trade relations, Kher said trade had grown ten-fold over the past ten years.

“Africa is one of India’s most important trading partners and there was a significant amount of complementarity between India and Africa and the two should work together to develop regional value chains,” Kher added.

In order to expand trade with Africa, the commerce secretary pointed that India had recently amended the Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme to cover around 98 percent of the tariff lines.

In addition, the government was also considering expanding and augmenting the Lines of Credit (LoCs) extended to African countries.

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