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WTO standoff over; India, US reach deal on food security

MODI-ObamaUnion Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said India has reached an agreement with the US on public stockpiling of food, paving the way for the implementation of a global trade facilitation deal at WTO that has been stalled for months.

“India and the US have resolved their differences on public stockholding of food,” Sithamaran said.

With this, India’s proposal will now go for ratification by WTO General Council. The US will support it,” Sitharaman added.

The Minister further said that many nations saw merit in India’s stand at WTO and that the US has also “appreciated and now openly supported our concerns on public stockholding.”

“India has never obstructed trade facilitation… We were only trying to safeguard our farmer’s interests,” she added.

At the end of July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pulled the plug on implementing a Trade Facilitation Agreement struck in Bali last year.

Commenting on the Bali package, Sitharaman said the government had no option but to seek a course correction on the same. The Bali package was signed under the UPA government; something the Commerce Minister believes hurt the sovereign rights of India to feed its poor.

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