Understand food security needs of developing nations: CII

Industry body CII has urged developed nations to show more flexibility and understanding towards

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food security needs of developing economies like India at the Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation, to ensure that a balanced Bali package is concluded at the earliest.

"Finding a common landing zone on the important issue of food security is critical to ensure a success at the Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)," CII said in a statement.

The G-33, grouping of 46-member developing nations including India, China and Indonesia, has proposed to amend the WTO Agreement on Agriculture in order to procure foodgrains from poor farmers at minimum support price and sell to poor people at cheap rates through public distribution system.

"Flexibility is critical to ensure that the Bali package, which includes an agreement on Trade Facilitation, is concluded at the earliest and a balanced package is firmed up," Leader of the CII delegation to the Bali Ministerial Deep Kapuria said.

"A good trade facilitation agreement (TFA) can help business globally. However, with some developed countries holding back on fully addressing an issue that impacts the world's poor we should not end up losing a good deal at Bali," Kapuria said.

Meanwhile, India today in a strongly-worded message to the WTO members said the food security issue is "non-negotiable" for New Delhi.

Addressing the plenary session of the 9th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the Bali package must be substantive, and historical imbalances in trade rules must be corrected to ensure a rule-based, fair and equitable order.

The TFA is aimed at making international trade much easier by simplifying and streamlining custom procedures across the globe. The pact is billed to bring in gains worth USD 1 trillion for global trade.

India's Food Security Act entitles 82 crore people to 5 kg of foodgrains per person a month at Rs 1-3 per kg. The country needs 62 million tonnes foodgrains a year to implement the law.

The G-33 proposal on food security aimed at addressing the problems faced by developing countries due to outdated WTO rules which base agriculture subsidy calculation on external reference prices of 1986-88, even as global food prices have increased manifold during this period.

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