India to push for permanent solution to food stock-holding issue at WTO ministerial meet

Published On: 11, Dec 2017 | Source:

Rituparna Bhuyan

The 11th ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has begun and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will push for a permanent solution to the food stock-holding issue, among others, reported CNBC TV-18.

Prabhu will be representing India's stance in the four-day meet. The food stock-holding issue, which has been vital to the food security programme, is one of the many issues that India will push during the meet.

India has been seeking amendments to calculate the cap on food subsidy but may end up breaching the WTO cap anyway. Under the global trade norms, a WTO member country's food subsidy bill should not breach the limit of 10 percent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.

Along with this, India is pushing for flexibility in posing emergency import tariffs, in case there is a spike in the level of farm products. India will also bat for the exclusion of small fisherman and fisheries from the global treaty. Prabhu will bring to light development-related issues of the Doha Developmental Agenda (DDA), which aims to lower trade barriers around the world to boost global trade.

E-commerce-related issues will also be discussed during the meet. India has, however, maintained that more discussion on the topic is necessary in order to reach a consensus and hence, the subject will not be a part of the ministerial agenda.

Apart from the above-mentioned issues, the future of WTO will be discussed. Countries like the US have said that WTO does not need to be the global trade regulator. India, on the other hand, has insisted that WTO should be a democratic and multilateral institution that ensures rule-based global trade.