At a WTO meeting in Geneva, Indian officials argued that the procurement program has not only helped the country feed its people but also become an exporter and also supplied nearly 200 tonnes of wheat to its neighbors during the pandemic. In addition, the rice supply helped provide additional food to the poor.
“Gone are the days when we imposed the discipline and we had no knowledge and wisdom to talk about a subject that concerns us. (The days when some said, ‘You are not good enough to think well of yourself’ are over and (that mentality) ) will hamper the success of MC13 (next year’s 13th ministerial conference),” said an Indian official in Geneva.
For more than a decade, India has been fighting these countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to lift the limit on public equity ownership by developing countries, an issue that has united 80 countries including China, South Africa and Indonesia. The current formula links the quantity purchased to an outdated external reference price, opening the doors to developing countries wanting to exceed the cap.
While the decision was made in 2013 to introduce a temporary ‘peace clause’ that prevents any country from being dragged to the WTO, developed countries have blocked the reworking of the formula and used it as a negotiating tool to push their agenda to push. The 80 countries are pushing for a decision at the WTO ministerial meeting in February next year.
At the meeting, sources said, U.S. WTO members were required to “walk back” on the Bali interim decision with more safeguard measures to manage the potential negative effects of overstocking on the international market.