INDIA, CHINA SEEK REDUCTION IN FARM SUBSIDIES BY WEST.
Even as the Chinese state media turned shriller on India and accused foreign minister Sushma Swaraj of lying to Parliament on the Doklam impasse, India and China are working together at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to get developed countries such as the US and the European Union members to reduce subsidies for farm products that are detrimental to exports from developing and poor countries. Earlier this week, the two countries put out a joint proposal to revive talks on a more balanced set of rules for global farm trade in the run up to a meeting of ministers in December. On Thursday, at a meeting in Geneva, India presented the paper and argued that the current WTO agreement on agriculture contains a major asymmetry as it allows developed countries access to enhanced support and sought its removal as a pre-requisite for talks on reforms for subsidies provided in the domestic markets.
"Only in this way will it help to address some of the inequities built in WTO rules," a source said, quoting an Indian representative. Indonesia, Bolivia, Philippines, Turkey and Uganda have supported the China-India paper, which is meant to reduce some of the inequalities in favour of the West, said sources. China is also working with the G-33, comprising India and led by Indonesia, to seek a permanent resolution to the problem of spending caps imposed on governments in developing countries for procuring and maintaining food stocks, such as those with the Food Corporation of India. The issue was discussed at length on Friday along with the proposal to provide for a special safeguard mechanism that the developing countries will be able to use in case of a surge in imports. The two proposals have been thorny issues for India, which had flagged its concerns during the two previous ministerial meetings in in Bali (2013) and Nairobi (2015).
In fact, the Narendra Modi government had got the WTO members to agree to change the decisions taken in Bali on stockholding. But trade is clearly different from border issues. Unlike China, which is playing ball with India at the WTO, Pakistan has chosen to remain hostile. In fact, Islamabad was among those fighting for the cause of up-to-date rules and price calculations for developing countries on public stockholding but at the last minute dropped out of the pack and aligned itself with the US and the EU position.
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|Publication:||Pakistan & Gulf Economist|
|Date:||Jul 30, 2017|
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