ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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WTO and Food Security

Challenges Ahead

At the forthcoming World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Argentina, the global community must address real subsidies in agriculture rather than a theoretical construct on the measure of support that also includes impacts of subsidies in rich countries and the tariffs that are duly allowed.

Agriculture remains one of the most crucial issues that have been part of the Doha Agenda that developing countries want to be resolved at the upcoming WTO (World Trade Organization) Ministerial Conference in Argentina. While agricultural subsidies in rich countries have remained a contentious issue for long, for several countries like India, WTO rules that pose threat to food security have also become an important issue. While India, along with other like-minded countries, was able to get some temporary relief in the form of a peace clause on this during the Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013, it is due to the strong position adopted by the Indian government in the following year that the peace clause was extended till the time a permanent solution to the issue could be found.

However, it is to be noted that India negotiated an indefinite peace clause which essentially entails a political commitment by member countries not to launch a WTO dispute even if some other countries violated the relevant rules. This is not the same as a legal solution that is required to resolve the issue of food security at the WTO. Hence, in the forthcoming ministerial conference, this issue will receive substantial attention from India and many other countries. However, subsidy and market access issues are also important, particularly because these three issues are interlinked.

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Updated On : 8th Dec, 2017
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