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WTO talks on food procurement issue on verge of collapse


Talks at the 11th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at Buenos Aires appear to be heading towards a collapse, as the US has refused to engage in the effort to find a permanent solution to the public stock holding issue.

A news agency reports that on the third-day of the conference, Assistant US Trade Representative Sharon Lauritsen said, the permanent solution was not acceptable to America.

India has all through been maintaining that a permanent solution was a must have and failure to do so would impact the credibility of the strong multilateral trade institution. The Indian delegation, led by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, in cooperation with the G33 grouping, is pitching hard for a permanent solution as it is crucial for the livelihood of 800 million people across the globe.

India has expressed deep disappointment on the latest development. Without naming US, an official statement said, India is surprised and deeply disappointed that despite an overwhelming majority of members reiterating it, a major member country has reneged on a commitment made two years ago to deliver a solution of critical importance for addressing hunger in some of the poorest countries of the world.

The conference, which began on Sunday, ends today, with very little time for any substantial retrieval of positions by the WTO members.

Under the global trade norms, a WTO 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.
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.

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