India Must Decide Its Role In Global Trade Order: John Kerry

Thursday, 31 July 2014, 09:12 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: As India has taken a tough stand at WTO, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said New Delhi must decide its role in global trade order.

Ahead of his official visit to India, Kerry said: "As we work with our trading partners around the world to advance trade and investment liberalisation, India must decide where it fits in the global trading system. Its commitment to a rules-based trading order and its willingness to fulfil its obligation will be a key indication".

Kerry said this in a newspaper article co-authored by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. The U.S. Secretary of State is heading a high-powered delegation for India to co-chair the fifth annual India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi during his three-day official visit.

In a strong message, India has told the WTO that it will not ratify the trade facilitation agreement (TFA), which is dear to the developed world, until a permanent solution is found on the issue of public stock holding for food security purposes.

Meanwhile, hectic parlays are on in Geneva to resolve issues between developed countries and emerging economies, including India. World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo is meeting officials in Geneva to end the impasse on issues related with TFA and public stock-holding for food security purposes, sources said.

New Delhi is pressing for an amendment to WTO norms regarding stockpile of foodgrains, an issue critical to India's food security programme. The current WTO norms limit the value of food subsidies at 10 percent of the total value of foodgrain production. However, the support is calculated at the prices that are over two-decade old.

India is asking for a change in the base year (1986-88) for calculating the food subsidies. India wants a change taking into account inflation and currency fluctuation.

India also wants an immediate establishment of an institutional mechanism such as a dedicated special session of the Committee on Agriculture to find a solution to the issue of public stock-holding on food security purposes.

"There must be clear-cut procedures, timelines and outcomes under this institutional mechanism so as to arrive at a permanent solution by December, 31 2014...," India had said.

The TFA, which aims at simplifying customs procedure, increasing transparency and reducing transactions cost, is being pushed by the U.S. and others as they seek to bolster their sagging economies through an unhindered international trade by way of a uniform and easy procedures at customs.

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