India 'deeply disappointed' over developments on food security issue at WTO

US criticises exemptions for India China at World Trade Organisation Centre hits back

Organizations grouped in the People " s Summit will again march today against the 11th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in its second day of sessions.

Without naming the United States, a commerce ministry statement said in the agriculture negotiations in Buenos Aires, "a major country stated categorically that they can not agree to any permanent solution on the public stockholding issue at MC11".

"Without naming the U.S., an official statement from the government said that a major country's stand on public stockholding, which impacts the minimum support price programme, "has posed a severe threat to a successful conclusion of the conference" as there was a mandate to find a permanent solution by biennial meeting of ministers".

The Indian team led by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is slated to meet trade ministers of the member countries and director general of WTO to re-emphasis that the permanent solution to food stockpile issue was a "must have" at the ministerial.

India had also said that non-fulfilment of a mandate flowing from a ministerial decision at Nairobi could "irreversibly" damage the credibility of the WTO.

The minister underlined the need for protecting WTO as platform for promoting trade in transparent and democratic manner, stressing the commerce ought to promote development and eliminate social problems like poverty.

India said it continues to participate in the efforts to draft a credible Ministerial Declaration at Buenos Aires.

On the possible impact of the proposed tax reforms in the United States on global economy which many feel could violate the WTO rules, the minister said the aggrieved member nations would have the option to move the dispute settlement panel of the multilateral trade body.

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"We have tried our best to engage with members in all formats".

The Indian trade official said though India will remain engaged in committee meetings on e-commerce, fisheries and other issues on the table, it can not be expected to show more flexibility than what it has already stated.

Prabhu, while addressing a press conference, said special and preferrential treatment is an "important component" of the WTO, adding that developing countries like India are "legitimate demandeurs" of it.

The Statement, supported by some 67 governments, establishes a new agenda within the WTO to enable e-commerce in support of global development and small-business growth.

Apprehending that full implementation of food security programme may result in breach of the WTO cap, India has been seeking amendments in the formula to calculate the food subsidy cap.

"Too often members seem to believe they can gain concessions through lawsuits that they could never get at the negotiating table", he said.

However, during the Bali conference, members agreed to an interim 'Peace Clause, ' under which any breach of the ceiling by a developing nation would not be challenged. This clause will be there till a permanent solution is found to the food stockpiling issue.

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