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India seeking 'balanced outcome' in WTO Nairobi meet

Last year, India had fought hard to to set the Bali accord straight, and have its concerns on food security and other issues addressed

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

India is seeking a "balanced outcome" at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) tenth ministerial meeting even as it is striving to get a permanent solution to the public stockholding issue for food security purposes.

The ministerial meeting, which is the highest decision making body of the WTO, will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. This is for the first time that a WTO meeting of all trade ministers is taking place in an African nation.

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"India is also working with other WTO Members to ensure balanced, development-oriented outcomes at the Nairobi Ministerial, including on the issue of public stockholding for food security," according to a commerce department note.

Last year, India had fought a bitter fight at the WTO to set the Bali accord straight, which was signed and agreed in December 2013. India had decided not to join the consensus in the WTO on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in July 2014 till its concerns relating to the implementation of other Bali ministerial decisions, in particular, the decision on public stockholding for food security purposes, were addressed.

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India had then demanded that the farm subsidies given by it to its poor and subsistence farmers in the form of 'minimum support price' or MSP will continue to be given without inviting any complaint or dispute from other member countries, until a permanent solution to the issue is found.

Eventually, through a decision of the WTO General Council it was decided that India and other developing countries can continue to offer such subsidies to the farmers under the public stockpiling programmes until a permanent solution is achieved.

The deadline for which is 2015.

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Meanwhile, the government also started working on its notification commitments as well as internal processes for ratifying the TFA, which seeks to ease customs rules for seamless movement of goods.

Deadline to ratify the TFA is also December. So far only nine countries have notified it. China and European Union are expected to do it soon.

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First Published: Sat, August 01 2015. 16:14 IST