No consensus yet over trade facilitation, food subsidy at World Trade Organization meet in Bali

Written by Surabhi Rastogi | Surabhi | Bali | Updated: Dec 6 2013, 17:34pm hrs
Roberto AzevedoWTO Director General Roberto Azevedo gestures during a press conference of the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Bali, Indonesia. (AP)
A consensus still eludes the 159 member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on issues of trade facilitation and food subsidy on the final day of the ninth ministerial talks of the group.

After hectic parleys with India and the US that lasted till early Friday morning, another informal meeting by WTO director general Roberto Azevedo with all members also failed to yield results.

Indications are that a final declaration from the summit may be delayed to either late Friday evening or even Saturday morning. The conference was earlier scheduled to end at 3pm (local time) on Friday.

Azevedo is continuing discussions with Commerce and Industry minister Anand Sharma and will hold similar negotiations with other countries as well later in the day to try and agree on the draft texts. He may convene another meeting with trade ministers later in the day again.

Sharma along with most trade minister have decided to extend their stay in the island by another day. He is now likely to leave on Saturday.

While the US has refused to budge from its stance, India and many other developing countries too have remained staunch on the issue of food security.

A consensus on at least eight of the 10 draft texts is likely to be reached, sources said India is still not satisfied by the compromise offered last night on food security.