WTO NEGOTIATION ON AGRICULTURE
Date : 08 Jul 2009
Location : New Delhi
At the mini-Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held in July 2008, Ministers were amenable to moving towards an agreement on several complex issues in both Agriculture and Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA), provided other issues of concern to them were resolved to their satisfaction. However, many issues either could not be discussed at all or agreement could not be reached on account of persisting differences. While many of these were issues critical to developing countries, several were developed country concerns. In the end, however, the focus was almost entirely on the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries. Several proposals were considered during the Ministerial discussions regarding the trigger that would allow developing countries to use the SSM to breach Uruguay Round bound rates. However, all attempts to find a solution that took the concerns of both the US and the developing countries on board, failed and the Ministerial talks had to be halted.
At meetings at Washington D.C. in June 2009, it was emphasized that India strongly favoured a rule-based multilateral trade regime that was fair and equitable. It was important to address the core concerns of the Round, which are the development needs of developing countries. It was pointed out that at the July mini-Ministerial Meeting, there had been a lack of convergence on several issues of concern to both developed and developing countries. It was further stated that it was necessary to energize the process of negotiations on the basis of the two texts circulated in December by the chairs of the Agriculture and NAMA Negotiating groups.
This information was given by Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.