India hopes to convince WTO by Sept on food security issue

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After the recent failure of WTO talks, India today hoped that by September it will convince the multi-lateral trading body about the need for developing nations to give subsidies on foodstocks so that it is relieved of the "draconian sword".

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman told Rajya Sabha that the tough position adopted by India and the recent talks in Geneva had been supported by many least developed countries (LDCs) and rejected the Opposition charge that the country stood isolated on the issue.

She underlined that India will not compromise on its sovereign duty to protect the interest of its farmers as well as consumers.

"On permanent solutions, we are trying to convince WTO. We are still making efforts. We hope to succeed by September," Sitaraman said while clarifying on the statement made in the Upper House.

Stating that the "draconian sword" is hanging on India and other countries on setting permanent solution by end of 2017, she said there was no need to wait till 2017 and at least the process can begin.

No progress has been made on finding permanent solution since post-Bali summit. India was getting "worried" that none of the western countries would come to talk about permanent solution on public stock holding if it had ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), she said.

Justifying India's stand, the minister said if India had ratified TFA, which it is committed for, there would have been not a single reason for western developed countries to discuss about permanent solutions.

The country was "wary" as developed countries are looking at plurilateral agreement and moving away from the central philosophy of WTO, which is multilateral, she said.


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