WTO ministerial conference begins amid uncertainty

Tags: WTO, News
Amid looming uncertainty, trade ministers and officials from 159 countries today began formal negotiations at the WTO ministerial meeting here in a bid to reach consensus on issues such as food security and trade facilitation.

Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, Chair of the Ninth Ministerial Conference, and the three Vice Chairs, in a joint statement, urged "all WTO members to come together over the next few days to make the necessary breakthroughs, working closely with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo."

The Vice Chairs are UK Minister of Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green, Rwanda Minister of Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba and Peru Minister for Trade and Tourism Magali Silva Velarde-Alvarez.

India, which is an important member of the G-33 grouping, is demanding amendments in the World Trade Organization (WTO) draft on agriculture to ensure its food security programme doesn't attract penalties if subsidy limits are breached.

On the other hand, developed countries such as the US are opposing any amendment and are pitching for a facilitation agreement to free global trade from procedural hassles at customs.

India yesterday made it clear it would not compromise on the food security issue.

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