‘U.S., E.U. can’t be trusted on Bali package’

July 18, 2014 03:36 am | Updated 03:36 am IST - NEW DELHI

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman

India said on Thursday that it no longer trusts the United States at the ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations on the Bali package in Geneva.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to meet WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gutcht in Sydney at the G20 Summit in an attempt to find a solution to the gridlocked Bali Deal negotiations.

During a Commerce Ministry briefing on Thursday, officials said, “We no longer trust the US and the EU… they are trying to get the Trade Facilitation Agreement [TFA] but without giving us a permanent solution for our food security subsidies so that they can later force us to give them market access to our farm sector.”

The development follows a one-on-one meeting in Geneva last Thursday between Mr. Azevedo and India’s Ambassador to the WTO Ms. Anjali Prasad in which he said the payments from developed countries to aid the execution of the TFA itself is the interim solution for India’s food subsidies. What he told Ms. Prasad is inconsistent with the Bali Ministerial Declaration of last December, the officials said.

India is sticking to its ground in Geneva and refusing to support a TFA unless work starts on finding a permanent solution for its minimum support prices for procuring food from poor farmers for below poverty line Indians that are in danger of breaching the WTO caps on subsidies, the officials said. India fears that developed countries led by the US will harvest the TFA and run, rendering out of reach any permanent solution for India’s food subsidy and procurement programme, the officials said.

India wants the Bali Package to be delivered in whole.

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