India has had its way on the Bali Package at the Ninth Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation here. The draft Ministerial Decision put up for endorsement to the member-countries is the draft India submitted; it takes care of India’s position on both food security and trade facilitation. Ministers were expected to adopt it by early Saturday. As they do so, it would be the first major decision of the century on global trade after the WTO came into being, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here.
The draft proposes an interim mechanism to safeguard minimum support prices to farmers against WTO caps till a permanent solution is adopted.
Over the past two days, WTO Director-General (DG) Roberto Azevedo and Ministerial Chair and Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan held marathon meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Mr. Sharma. “We live in interesting times, but I stand firm on the Indian position of food security,” Mr. Sharma said while on his way out of his meeting with the three “giants”.
Later on Friday, he told The Hindu he had rejected the text prepared by the DG for the Ministerial Decision. “Ambassador Froman told me he would need a mandate from Washington to agree with us, and I told him to convey to President Obama that we wouldn’t like to see him stand against developing countries’ right to food — and I found the USTR receptive.”
Three hours after this meeting, at 3 a.m., India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva Jayant Dasgupta handed over to the DG, the Bali text India had prepared. On Friday morning, the DG put up India’s proposed Bali text to the heads of delegations after a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Froman. He assured the heads of delegates that no members would be forced to adopt the final text of the Bali deal now being worked out, said official sources. \
A range of gains for Delhi at Ministerial
* Food Security Law may push India’s minimum support prices above WTO limits, but interim mechanism provides safeguards till WTO rules are corrected
* Agreement on Trade Facilitation could boost India’s exports
* India spearheads first agreement in the nine Ministerials held after the Doha Round
* India gains global leadership by getting a crucial poor-rich country imbalance corrected on a multilateral forum
* Support subsidies to poor farmers across all developing countries get safeguards against WTO rules
* With Bali outcomes, Doha Round and therefore WTO remain alivSuccess a tribute to Nelson Mandela, says Anand Sharma