India on Friday said US was not totally averse to its stand on giving food subsidies but was willing to convince the WTO members on the issue. "US is not entirely opposing India's stand, but it is interested to make others understand India's point of view on the issue relating to food subsidies," Union Minister for Industry and Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of a symposium here.
Stating that India would be able to convince the WTO about the need for developing countries to give subsidies on food stock, Sitharaman said, "Besides US, we are also in discussion with other countries." Sitharaman's clarification came in response to a question on the opposition by the US to Indian stand on the World Trade Organization (WTO) issue. India has refused to ratify the trade facilitation agreement, citing the need for a permanent solution to issues concerning its food security plan.
Sitharaman had earlier said India will not compromise on the interest of poor farmers and consumers at the WTO and has sought complete resolution of the food grain stockpile issue, which is essential for unhindered implementation of the country's food security programme. Justifying India's tough stand, which had led to collapse of the WTO Geneva talks on July 31, Sitharaman had said that without a permanent solution, public stock holding programmes in India and other developing countries will be hampered by the present ceiling on domestic support which is pegged at 10 per cent of the value of production and is wrongly considered as trade-distorting subsidy to farmers under existing WTO rules.