Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Commerce & Industry
06-May-2015 15:18 IST
India's Stand at WTO on Food Security

Together with other developing countries, India proposed an amendment to the relevant rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) relating to public stockholding for food security purposes. At the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Bali in December 2013, Ministerial Decisions were taken on this and other issues including a Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Subsequently, concerned at the lack of progress in implementing the Ministerial Decision on public stockholding for food security purposes, India decided not to join the consensus in the WTO on next step for the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement till its concerns were addressed.

Initially there was a general campaign of misinformation and criticism of India’s stand. However, India stood firm and worked with other WTO members to find a way forward. Subsequently, a Decision was adopted by the WTO General Council (GC) in November 2014 which makes it clear that a mechanism, under which WTO Members will not challenge the public stockholding programmes of developing country members for food security purposes, in relation to certain obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, will remain in place in perpetuity until a permanent solution regarding this issue has been agreed and adopted. This strengthens the safeguard available for continuing the Minimum Support Price policy and will ensure that India’s food security operations are not constrained due to WTO rules. The GC Decision also includes a firm commitment to engage in negotiations for a permanent solution through an intensified programme of work. India is working with the WTO members to ensure a permanent solution at the earliest.

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.