Commerce and Industry Ministry Suresh Prabhu on October 9 and 10 attended the Informal WTO Ministerial Gathering in Marrakesh, Morocco. Prabhu led discussions on behalf of the developing world and extended the commitment to Doha Round referring to the agreed objectives of the agricultural negotiations earlier. Prabhu also called for the continuation of the reform process and urged to avoid any further widening and perpetuation of imbalance between the developed and developing countries, an official PIB statement said.
Further, in his speech, the Commerce and Industry Minister spoke about India’s priorities and position on several fronts that come under the discussion ambit in the WTO for outcomes at the eleventh ministerial conference (MC11). Prabhu stressed for a permanent solution on the topic of public stocking for food security purposes and sought possible outcomes which can be achieved. He said that the issue is of prime importance not only to India but also to various other developing countries.
Further, Prabhu also pointed out that a solution on this issue would to give a strong and determined signal to end hunger and achieve food security as is mandated by the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2, the statement said.
Stressing on the importance of special and differential treatment for developing countries, Prabhu also said that India is ready to participate in the proposals that recognise equal rights for all developing countries without any exceptions. Prabhu also highlighted that in India there are almost 600 million people who are dependent on agriculture in one way or the other. “Almost 98 per cent of Indian farmers being low income or resource poor and mostly engaged in subsistence farming. Under such a situation, it was imperative for India to balance trade liberalisation with the need to protect the livelihood of the farmers,” he said.
The Commerce and Industry Minister, on the sidelines of the meeting, also held marathon bilateral meetings with an aim to push India’s trade in a comprehensive manner. The statement mentioned that Prabhu met ministers from the European Union, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Rwanda, Morocco, as well as the Director General of the WTO.