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WTO: Positive announcements expected at G20

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 11, 2014 18:25 IST
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With India and the US getting closer to end the impasse at World Trade Organization, some positive announcements are expected to be made at the forthcoming summit of G-20 leaders at Brisbane.

India and the US are engaged in Geneva, the WTO headquarters, to sort out the food stockpiling issue and end the stalemate.

India's chief negotiator had met US Ambassador to WTO recently in Geneva.

"India is hopeful that things will be sorted out soon.

"The country is hopeful that WTO membership will respect India's position and will accept the solution which is under discussion," a sources said, adding that some positive announcements are expected to be made in the G20 meet.

The two-day G20 Summit starting November 15 will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Barack Obama and other global leaders.

India had made it clear that it would not ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement, a pact that seeks to ease custom norms, until a permanent solution was found on the food subsidy issue.

India had asked WTO to amend the norms for calculating agri subsidies so that the country could continue to procure foodgrain from farmers at minimum support price and sell them to poor at cheaper rates without violating the WTO norms.

The current WTO norms limit the value of food subsidies at 10 per cent of the total value of foodgrain production.

However, the quantum of subsidy is computed after taking into consideration prices that prevailed two decades ago.

There are apprehensions that once India would fully implement its food security programme it may breach the cap.

WTO members can drag India if it will cross the limit.

The food subsidy provided by India for paddy during 2010-11 worked out to be only around 6 per cent of the total output of the commodity in value terms. In case of wheat, the subsidy is negative by 1 per cent.

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

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