India wants WTO rules on food grains to be scrapped.


India will seek to eliminate rights in trade rules that have helped developed countries dominate global farm exports and fair access to developing countries’ export markets, a person familiar with the development said. Obstructed.

At the next World Trade Organization (WTO) inter-ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi, India will seek to remove the ‘Further Final Bound Total Aggregate Measurement of Support (FBTAMS) privilege’. These are additional allowances set at ‘de minimis thresholds’ under WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) rules.

In trade parlance, ‘de minimis limits’ are the minimum amount of domestic support allowed to a country even though it distorts world prices. These are fixed at 5% of the cost of production for developed countries and 10% for developing countries.

It has been the subject of considerable controversy over the years, most recently when New Delhi had to defend its Minimum Support Price (MSP) program — the price at which it buys grain for public stockholdings — from its In the midst of a global food crisis caused by The Ukraine War.

“India believes that any discussion on domestic cooperation needs to first address the existing imbalances and imbalances in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). Thus, discipline on domestic cooperation for India But the dialogue must begin with addressing the historic imbalance in domestic support,” the person cited above said.

“India advocates leveling the playing field by eliminating the FBTAMS privilege enjoyed by many members, which allows them to provide minimal overarching support and product-specific support. Provides greater flexibility to focus.”

However, there has been resistance to any discussion on the issue, and no real negotiations have begun even in the WTO.

According to the Third World Network (TWN), a think tank, developing countries should raise the FBTAMS privilege strongly on the issue of discipline as they remain a “main source of inequality” in the AoA.

“There is a clear irrationality in allowing huge additional entitlements for a few countries that give them huge advantages in terms of policy space over all other and poorer countries,” says TWN.

This inequality also underpins many other issues on the negotiating table, such as public stockholdings (PSH) and special safeguard mechanisms that developing countries have called for.

India’s major food exporters such as the US and Canada regularly question its PSH program on the grounds that it is too subsidized, especially for rice.

India has invoked the ‘peace clause’ several times in the WTO for violating the 10% subsidy ceiling on rice procurement.

India has argued in the WTO’s Committee on Agriculture that it does not export common paddy, which it buys under the MSP programme. The official added that it mainly exports high quality rice which is in demand worldwide.

Questions sent to a Commerce Ministry spokesperson were not answered by press time.

India had informed the WTO that its rice production value in 2019-20 was $46.07 billion and it paid a subsidy of $6.31 billion or 13.7 percent, which is above the 10 percent threshold.

India, along with a group of developing and African countries, has also proposed a permanent public food storage solution that would give them the flexibility to pay more agricultural aid.

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