Cabinet clears India's stand at WTO’s Nairobi meet

January 20, 2016 05:37 pm | Updated September 23, 2016 01:53 am IST - New Delhi

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved ex-post facto India’s approach at the last month’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) conference held in Nairobi, an official statement said.

The outcomes of the conference, referred to as the 'Nairobi Package' include Ministerial Decisions on agriculture covering a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries (to counter import surges of farm items), public stockholding for food security purposes, a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports and measures related to cotton, the statement said.

India secured a re-affirmative Ministerial Decision on the public stockholding issue honouring earlier decisions at the WTO’s highest level – including at the Bali Ministerial and the General Council, the statement said. The decision commits members to engage constructively in finding a permanent solution to this issue, it added.

Similarly, India negotiated a Ministerial Decision on another very important issue which recognises that developing countries will have the right to have recourse to an agricultural SSM as envisaged in the Doha mandate. Members will continue to negotiate the mechanism in dedicated sessions of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session. The WTO General Council has been mandated to regularly review the progress of these negotiations. This is a crucial decision in view of the differing views about the future of the Doha Round, the statement said.

While the Round is very important for greater integration of developing countries in the global trading system, a few developed countries were strongly opposed to the continuation of the Doha Development Agenda (or DDA, to improve the trade prospects of developing and poor nations). India took the stand that the DDA must continue after the Nairobi Conference and no new issues must be introduced into the WTO agenda until the DDA has been completed, the statement said. The Nairobi Ministerial Declaration acknowledges that members "have different views" on how to address the future of the Doha Round negotiations but noted the "strong commitment of all Members to advance negotiations on the remaining Doha issues."

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