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Obama commends Modi's leadership on striking WTO deal

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: November 14, 2014 13:30 IST
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The US agreed to India's proposal on food security issues at WTO on Thursday, a development that will pave the way for a breakthrough to end the three-month long stalemate.

Narendra Modi and Barack Obama

Image: US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the National Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters

US President Barack Obama has commended the personal leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in finding a forward path on the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.

"The President had extensive discussions with Prime Minister Modi on this issue and appreciates his personal leadership in finding a path forward," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement after India and US announced that the two countries have reached an agreement on TFA.

In Myanmar, where Obama met Prime Minister Modi briefly on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, described the Indian leader ‘as a man of action’.

Earnest said the important breakthrough reached between the United States and India will unlock the progress towards the full and immediate implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will lower the costs of trade for developed and developing countries alike.

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi interact during their summit at the Oval Office.

Image: US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office. Photograph: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

"This breakthrough will also strengthen the multilateral trading system and give a boost to its ongoing work, including in the area of food security," he said.

Earnest said this has been a good week for expanding opportunities for American businesses and workers and for promoting growth around the globe.

The US agreed to India's proposal on food security issues at WTO on Thursday, a development that will pave the way for a breakthrough to end the three-month long stalemate.

The agreement came two days ahead of the G20 Summit in Australia, which will be attended by Prime Minister Modi and other world leaders, including Obama.

WTO

Image: India and the US are engaged in Geneva, the WTO headquarters, to sort out the food stockpiling issue and end the stalemate. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

As per the agreement, the US will support India's proposal at WTO that 'peace clause', crucial for uninterrupted implementation of India's food security programme, should

continue indefinitely till a permanent solution is found.

This will enable India to continue procurement and stocking of foodgrain for distribution to poor under its food security programme without attracting any kind of action from

WTO members even if it breaches the 10 per cent subsidy cap as prescribed by the multilateral trade body.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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