India, South Africa and Brazil – the so-called developing nations – came together to discuss their stand on the food security issue at Bali in Indonesia on the first day of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial.
India’s commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma (pictured) garnered support from the Ibsa block (comprising India, Brazil and South Africa) for food subsidy and food security aimed at the poor in their respective countries.
“Brazil and South Africa conveyed their agreement with India’s position (on the issue) and wanted to know how best these could be accommodated in the Bali package,” the government said in a statement.
In his meeting with his Ibsa counterparts, Sharma said the issue to be addressed was not just food security but inadequacies in the whole draft Bali proposals. Be it export completion, tariff rate quota or TRQ administration or trade facilitation, only lip service is paid to the interests of developing countries in proposed WTO texts which are devoid of substance and mainly consist of best endeavour provisions.
While India has endorsed the settled draft on trade felicitation and export competition, there are, in total, 72 brackets (unagreed) points in the TRQ administration draft.
He reiterated India’s commitment to strengthening and preservation of the multi-lateral trading system and take forward its agreed negotiating mandate.
India is spearheading the G33 proposal on food stockholding that demands exemption for the developing countries to provide subsidised food grain to the poor in their respective countries.