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India decides not to sign Bali trade deal
July 24, 2014, 4:54 am

India wants a permanent solution to its demands for amendments to WTO rules that would exempt food security programs from being counted under subsidy spending caps [AP]

India wants a permanent solution to its demands for amendments to WTO rules that would exempt food security programs from being counted under subsidy spending caps [AP]

Citing concerns over food security, India has decided not to sign the trade protocol agreed to by WTO members at Bali.

The decision was taken after a Cabinet meet headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Indian officials quoted by local media.

The “trade facilitation agreement” faces its first implementation deadline on July 31.

India’s vast grain stockpiling and a 1.3 trillion rupee ($22 billion) annual food subsidy programme implemented by the previous government are subsidies in breach of the WTO’s specified limits.

While a permanent solution to the problem was deferred in Bali, developed countries promised not to take any action if subsidies breached the given caps. In Bali, WTO members agreed to give India a pass on its food stockpiles until 2017. New Delhi, however, wants negotiations to be completed before signing off on the Bali trade protocol.

The global trade pact would cheapen import goods worldwide and boost global trade by $1 trillion.

India needs 62 million tonnes of foodgrain in a year to implement the National Food Security Act, 2013, that would bring cheap food to hundreds of millions of poor people throughout the country.

India is home to 25 per cent of the world’s hungry poor, according to a UN agency.

 

 TBP and Agencies

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