India, China on same page on food security
India and Brazil, the chief coordinators of the G20 formation in agriculture connected with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Doha Round negotiations, have secured China’s allegiance to a proposal to include “all” budgetary expenses on food security and rural livelihood & development in the list of “green box” subsidies, which are “non-trade distorting” and meant to be freely allowed.
The G20 move is in early preparations for the year-end’s WTO ministerial meeting at Bali in Indonesia and amid reports that the US and the EU are drifting towards reinforcing their trans-Atlantic trade relations under a new formal framework, at the expense of the moves to ease world trade further under a rules-based multilateral framework.
In WTO terminology, subsidies are identified by “boxes” that are given the colours of traffic lights: green (permitted), amber (slow down or to be reduced) and red (forbidden).
According to official sources, New Delhi making common cause with China on the green box items is a significant breakthrough, especially since an ambitious national food security law is in the offing. The new, strong consensus among the emerging economies would serve as a balance-tilting counterweight to the US-EU bloc, while cherry-picking the doable things on the WTO front.
The US and EU had proposed some definitional curbs on food security spending for their green box inclusion, accepting which would mean constraints on India in implementing its proposed food security law. For instance, the advanced economies have long said that (state) expenses on food
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