Redouble efforts to find food security solution by Dec: WTO

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New Delhi | Published: February 9, 2017 11:55:02 PM

WTO has a clear mandated deadline for finding solution by the forthcoming ministerial meeting, which is scheduled in December in Argentina.

WTO chief Roberto Azevedo today asked the member countries to "redouble efforts" to meet the deadline for finding the permanent solution for the food security purposes, a key area of interest for India. (Reuters)WTO chief Roberto Azevedo today asked the member countries to ?redouble efforts? to meet the deadline for finding the permanent solution for the food security purposes, a key area of interest for India. (Reuters)

WTO chief Roberto Azevedo today asked the member countries to “redouble efforts” to meet the deadline for finding the permanent solution for the food security purposes, a key area of interest for India. He said WTO has a clear mandated deadline for finding solution by the forthcoming ministerial meeting, which is scheduled in December in Argentina. “So, we must redouble our efforts to meet the deadline,” he said, adding the issue is important as this decision protects developing countries from legal challenges at the WTO in connection with governmental support for stock piling of staple food at guaranteed prices.

The Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said it was particularly important for India but “there is a lot of work to do”. “So, now what we are trying to do is whether by December, we can come up with a permanent solution for that,” Azevedo told reporters here. He also said the G-33 group of countries, which includes India, has submitted a proposal in this regard with the Geneva-based body. However, he said, that proposal has not evolved over time and “I am not sure whether convergence can be found on the basis of that proposal without further revisions”.

For a permanent solution, India had proposed either amending the formula to calculate the food subsidy cap of 10 per cent, which is based on the reference price of 1986-88, or allowing such schemes outside the purview of subsidy caps. Finding a solution is important for India as it would help in smooth implementation of its food security law. Further commenting on India’s economy, he said India is the fastest growing G20 economy and there are strong signals that would continue on this path.

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“India is carrying out a wide range of reforms to improve and strengthen institutions. The demonetisation initiative to help formalise the economy is not just the example of the effort….,” he added. He also said that tax reforms and ease of doing business would help in attracting foreign investments.
“I would like to commend India’s courage in pursuing all these reforms. They are not easy and these efforts are being recognised around the world,” he said.

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