Resolve issues on food security before Bali meet: WTO to India

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WTO chief Roberto Azevedo asked India to work out a solution to the vexed issue ahead of the Bali ministerial meeting. WTO chief Roberto Azevedo asked India to work out a solution to the vexed issue ahead of the Bali ministerial meeting.
SummaryThe ninth WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Bali from December 3-6.

Amid concerns being raised by developed countries over the government's food security programme, new WTO chief Roberto Azevedo today asked India to work out a solution to the vexed issue ahead of the Bali ministerial meeting in December.

"One important issue where India is very much involved is food security proposal...As you can imagine with an issue this big, this is not going to be fully solved in 4 weeks. It's just not going to happen.

"What we have agreed in Geneva is we are going to be working on a Peace Clause ...which allows negotiators in Geneva to find a more permanent solution for the long term," he while addressing members of the industry chamber CII.

The WTO headquarters is in Geneva.

He further said that WTO members have less time and the trade ministers should now engage with each other and give right signals to their negotiators.

While the G-33, a group of developing nations including India, is demanding that the tenure (the peace clause) should be 10 years, developed countries such as the US are ready to accept only a 2-3 year period.

A so-called "peace clause" in WTO parlance gives legal security to member countries and protects them from being challenged under other WTO agreements.

"Between now and Bali, what we have to do is figure how that Peace Clause is going to work. How that is going to be crafted to take into account the concerns of the two sides...you allow the programme to continue unimpeded, the other side of this part is not allowing programme which are designed to provide food security...do not distort market unnecessary and unduly," he added.

He also talked on the importance of concluding the trade facilitation agreement saying it would help in reducing transactions cost for exporters.

Negotiations for a deal at the Bali meet are stuck over the tenure of an interim resolution on the demand by G-33 developing countries on food security.

The ninth WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Bali from December 3-6. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the 159-member WTO which meets at least once every two years.

Azevedo took over

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