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India warns U.S. over food stockpiling

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Staff writer ▼ | November 15, 2013
India has told the U.S. it must give ground in negotiations over food stockpiling to secure a global trade deal next month, a step widely seen as vital for the credibility of the World Trade Organisation.
India food
India foodIndia has told the U.S. it must give ground in negotiations over food stockpiling to secure a global trade deal next month, a step widely seen as vital for the credibility of the World Trade Organisation.


In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, India's Trade Minister Anand Sharma emphasised the "social significance" of allowing a change in the WTO rules to let poor countries stockpile subsidised food, Gulf Times reports.

"As I had explained to you, Food Security is crucial for large developing countries like India with hundreds of millions of people subsisting below the poverty line," Sharma wrote, according to excerpts made available to Reuters.

"It must also be juxtaposed with the fact that the agrarian economy of India is driven by subsistence and marginal farmers unlike the large contract farmers in the developed world. You will appreciate that protecting the interests of farmers and vulnerable sections of society is a key political imperative for a country like India."

India led 46 developing countries in proposing the reform a year ago, suggesting that poorer countries should be exempt from limits on subsidies when they stockpile food to support low-income or resource-poor farmers.

The proposal has been one of the main sticking points in a package of trade reforms that the WTO wants its 159 member countries to agree on at a summit in Bali next month.


 

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