India

12 U.S. Congressmen urge Biden to hold India accountable in WTO for 'trade-distorting practices'

US President Joe Biden greets India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Elmau Castle, southern Germany. File

US President Joe Biden greets India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Elmau Castle, southern Germany. File | Photo Credit: AFP

A dozen U. S. lawmakers have written a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to file a formal request for consultations with India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over its "dangerous trade-distorting practices" that they claim have impacted U. S. farmers and ranchers.

The Congressmen stated that current WTO rules allowed the governments to subsidise up to 10% of the value of commodity production. However, the Indian government continues to subsidise more than half of the value of production for several commodities, including rice and wheat, they said.

‘Lack of enforcement’

India's "lack of rule-following" and the Biden administration's "lack of enforcement" have reshaped the global agricultural production and trade channels by driving down prices, depressing production of rice and wheat commodities, and putting American producers at a disproportionate disadvantage, the Congressmen alleged in the letter.

"India's practices are dangerously trade-distorting on a global scale and impact U. S. farmers and ranchers," the letter read. The lead in the letter was taken by Congressmen Tracey Mann and Rick Crawford.

"We urge the administration to file a formal request for consultations with India at the WTO and to continue monitoring other WTO members' domestic support programmes that undermine fair trade practices," they said.

Supply chain issues

The U. S. must not yield for the sake of reaching a consensus. Instead, America must work to promote solutions that will alleviate the global supply chain and food shortages. It must take actions that will address those consumers most impacted by inflation and rising food prices, the lawmakers demanded.

"It is up to the American agriculture to contribute to building resilient conditions for food security for the U. S. and throughout the world,” they said.

India’s firm stand

India has defended its stand at the WTO. Several countries and organisations across the world have applauded India for taking a firm stand in protecting the interests of its farmers.

The Geneva-based WTO is an intergovernmental organisation that regulates and facilitates international trade. Governments use the organisation to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international trade.


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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 8:39:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/12-us-congressmen-urge-biden-to-hold-india-accountable-in-wto-for-trade-distorting-practices/article65591946.ece