Protesting against the imbalance in favour of developed countries at the ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations at Geneva, India on Wednesday broke away from the consensus on the Trade Facilitation (TF) Protocol. India’s refusal to ratify this agreement that has been readied to their satisfaction as a follow up to the Bali Ministerial decisions of last December has led to a stalemate at the talks.
In a strong statement India said it will support the TF agreement only if there is progress in Geneva on mechanisms for ensuring permanent protection of the government’s Minimum Support Price (MSP) against the WTO’s subsidy caps, a senior Commerce Ministry official told reporters here on Thursday.
The new government is clear that the MSP is a tool important enough for us to take this stand at the WTO, he said.
India has repeatedly expressed concern over the uneven pace of work at the negotiations in Geneva over the past few months but despite that the imbalance in progress has persisted.
“We are deeply concerned that the Ministerial Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security purposes is getting sidelined…Members have been attempting to divert attention to the policies and programmes of select developing country members,” India said in its statement in Geneva on Wednesday.
There is growing disenchantment, anguish and anger in our domestic constituencies and a sense of déjà vu as once again they see the interests of developing countries being subordinated to the might of the developed world, the statement further said, adding that in round after round, developing countries have been called upon to concede ore and more, with little being offered in return.
The US, EU and other developed countries did not respond well to India’s statement on Wednesday, the official said. “India is being accused of wrecking the WTO,” he said.
He explained the rationale behind India’s stand: “it was agreed at the Doha Round that the WTO will correct the faulty subsidy rules that the mighty countries had thrust upon us in the 1990s…these rules suited the subsidy systems of the developed countries and not ours even though the subsidies that the developed countries give are much larger and far more trade distorting than ours.”