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India urges WTO members to find permanent solution to public stock holding for food security


NEW DELHI: India on Friday urged the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to work on finding a permanent solution to the issue of public stock holding for food security purposes. Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has again brought to the fore the importance of food and livelihood security.

He “urged the Membership for a permanent solution to Public Stock Holding (PSH) for food security”, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The comments were made during the final session of India’s seventh Trade Policy Review (TPR) which concluded on Friday at the WTO in Geneva.

Wadhawan also informed that India has a stable policy environment with considerably lower applied rates than its WTO commitments.

“While emphasizing that India’s trade remedial investigations are conducted in a transparent manner and in accordance with WTO provisions, he also mentioned that only a miniscule fraction of India’s imports attract these measure,” the statement said.

The TPR is an important mechanism under the WTO’s monitoring function in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined with an aim to contribute towards improved adherence to WTO rules, while providing constructive feedback to the member under review.

More than 1,050 questions were asked and 53 interventions were made by WTO member countries in the TPR meetings.

Under the global trade norms, a WTO member country’s food subsidy bill should not breach the limit of 10 per cent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.

Apprehending that the full implementation of food security programme may result in breach of WTO cap, India has been seeking amendments in the formula to calculate food subsidy cap.

As an interim measure, WTO members at the Bali ministerial meeting in December 2013 had agreed to put in place a mechanism, popularly called the Peace Clause, and committed to negotiate an agreement for permanent solution.

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