World Trade Organization addresses India's concerns, issues revised draft

Anand Sharma, WTOUnion Minister Anand Sharma with his counterparts Rob Davies of South Africa and Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado of Brazil at IBSA lunch on the sidelines of World Trade Organization Ministerial meeting in Bali. PTI

In a landmark attempt to take forward the stalled Doha Round of global trade talks, the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday evening issued a revised draft of the Bali package that would address India's concerns on food security and take through the trade facilitation agreement.

The draft has proposed an interim solution with a peace clause of four years during which a permanent mechanism will have to be finalised.  

Significantly, it would not preclude developing countries from rolling out their own food security programmes as it will include only existing programmes -- key concerns for India that is implementing the Food Security Act.

"The permanent solution on food security and public stockholding must be acceptable to all members and put in place by the Eleventh Ministerial," it said.

"A great day for India, I am more than happy.... India has clinched World Trade Organization deal for the farmers and poor of the world," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after the final round of negotiations.

However, developing nations will be bound to notify the World Trade Organization's Committee on Agriculture if they are in danger of capping the 10 per cent subsidy limit. It also prohibits any market distorting activities and will be monitored closely by the WTO.

Fulfilling the major concerns of the US and the EU, the draft text has also called to put in place the Trade Faciliation pact over the next two years for which a preparatory committee would be set up. The pact will put in binding rules to ensure easier movement of goods, adding $ 1 trillion to the global GDP according to a study.

"It is aimed as a full package that will take care of all three agendas of agriculture, trade facilitation and development," said a source connected with the developments.

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