The day after, India agrees to re-engage on WTO pact

Aug 02 2014, 04:33 IST
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PM Narendra Modi with US Secretary of State John Kerry (c) and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Sushma Swaraj. (PTI) PM Narendra Modi with US Secretary of State John Kerry (c) and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Sushma Swaraj. (PTI)
SummaryThe peace clause is meant to give developing countries immunity on any violation of limits on public stockholding for food security.

A day after its firm stand on food security put the multilateral process at the World Trade Organisation to liberalise global trade in jeopardy, India has vowed to help the same and suggested efforts to build a consensus on “all outstanding issues” could be resumed in September. New Delhi agreed to re-engage in the talks for both trade facilitation and permanent solution for food security but said during the period of negotiation it would need the comfort of the promised “peace clause” being surely available.

The peace clause is meant to give developing countries immunity on any violation of limits on public stockholding for food security.

As the US blamed India for the failure of WTO talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said developed countries should “understand” the challenges of poverty in developing nations and their governments' responsibilities to address them.

Modi conveyed this to visiting US secretary of state John Kerry and secretary of commerce Penny Pritzker when they called on him.

“The Prime Minister emphasised the need for developed countries to understand the challenges of poverty in developing countries and their governments' responsibilities in addressing them when discussions take place in international forums,” a PMO statement said.

Sources said during the negotiations at the world body's general council on Thursday, India insisted on an enhanced process to find a permanent solution for the food security issue by December 2014. This should necessarily be in the form of a General Council decision, India said. However, all that India was offered was a “text” incorporating these proposals from India by the WTO director general, which, sources here said, led to the collapse of the talks. The chair's text only had the value of a record of the discussions, sources explained, and is not legally binding like a General Council decision.

In fact, India had even agreed to sign the protocol on trade facilitation agreement (TFA) on Thursday itself if these proposals were accepted by all members and the General Council came out with a text to this effect, officials added.

Kerry said India's decision not to ink the TFA protocol sent a wrong signal.

WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo said on Thursday night that despite intensive consultations, the world trade body's 160 members could not find a solution that would allow them to bridge the gap on the adoption of the TFA protocol. The TFA can potentially add $1 trillion to the world economy and create over 20

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