India says progress on food not condition for Bali deal implementation

NEW DELHI Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:49pm IST

A woman winnows wheat crop at a wholesale grain market on the outskirts of Ahmedabad May 7, 2013. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

A woman winnows wheat crop at a wholesale grain market on the outskirts of Ahmedabad May 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's top trade official said the government would not block the world's first global trade deal over lack of progress on food subsidy talks, clarifying New Delhi's stance after an earlier threat to derail the deal.

The deal struck in December in Bali to lower trade barriers was the World Trade Organization's first global agreement since it was created in 1995 and revived global talks after the failure of the Doha round.

Member countries are due to sign a protocol that is a step towards implementation by July 31.

But India has criticised the pact for putting trade facilitation ahead of a compromise on agricultural subsidies, a crucial issue for a country that stockpiles food for its poor.

The disagreement over subsidies has raised fears that India would not ratify the pact reached in Bali, derailing the latest effort to free up to $1 trillion in global trade flows.

Trade Secretary Rajeev Kher told reporters progress on food stockpiling was not a condition for signing the protocol, but reiterated India's position that its concerns on food stock piles should be addressed along with trade facilitation.

"We are not saying there should be no deal. We are simply asking them to address our concerns," Kher said.

Kher said India wanted talks on food security to progress at the same pace as trade facilitiation.

Nirmala Sitharaman, the country's commerce minister, last week told the Financial Times that India would not back that protocol as it was unhappy with the progress of talks on food security that ministers also committed to in Bali.

New Delhi had agreed to back the pact on a promise that its concerns related to food subsidies would be addressed.

While it wants a permanent exemption from the WTO rules, the trade deal has set 2017 as the deadline for recommending a permanent solution pertaining to food security.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS EXCLUSIVE

Reuters Showcase

Documents' Leak

Documents' Leak

India widens oil leaks probe to defence ministry  Full Article 

Jim O’Neill Interview

Jim O’Neill Interview

'India can become world’s fifth-largest economy by decade’s end'  Full Article 

Food Security

Food Security

India will not cut multi-billion dollar food handout programme - PM  Full Article 

Ola's Expansion Drive

Ola's Expansion Drive

Taxi group Ola steps up expansion drive  Full Article 

Sahara Saga

Sahara Saga

Sahara's Grosvenor House hotel in London put up for sale   Full Article 

Suzlon Energy

Suzlon Energy

Suzlon expects to turn profitable in fiscal 2016: chairman   Full Article 

Eicher Motors Stake

Eicher Motors Stake

Volvo selling up to $300 mln worth of Eicher shares  Full Article 

Beef Trade

Beef Trade

Maharashtra clamps down on beef trade through new act  Full Article 

Budget 2015

Budget 2015

Budget announcements and reactions from the industry  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage