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India to Press for Food Security at Bali WTO Meet

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Ahead of WTO meet in Bali, India said it will be firm on its core agenda of food security and protect the interest of poor people and farmers according to PTI reports. Commerce and Industry Minister will be leading a 30-member delegation for the four-day ’s ministerial conference starting Tuesday.

According to an official statement, Sharma is also likely to raise the issue of subsistence farmers of India at the G-33 meeting being convened in Bali today ahead of the ministerial conference. He would unequivocally convey to his interlocutors that India’s concerns on food security are non-negotiable, it said.

“The Minister will underscore the fact that the Bali ministerial must have a fair and balanced outcome, which addresses the concerns of developing countries adequately, especially so on food security,” it said.

Sharma would pitch for a balanced outcome which addresses India’s food security concerns and not just an outcome which deals with interests of the strong exporting economies of the developed world in spite of strong headwinds in Bali with the developed countries likely to oppose a lasting agreement on food security.

Developed countries like US and Canada have raised apprehensions that food stockpiling exercise of India and other developing nations to implement food security plans will breach the 10 percent cap under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).

India is demanding amendment in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, under which farm subsidy is capped at 10 percent. The country is apprehensive that it may breach the cap while implementing its food security plan. Under the plan, government would provide wheat and rice at cheap rates to poor people.