The BRICS group of emerging market nations is confident a global trade reform pact will be implemented despite concerns by India over its food security, Brazil's trade minister said on Monday. "We are confident that the Bali agreement will be implemented by all," Brazilian Trade Minister Mauro Borges told reporters are the end of a ministerial meeting ahead of the BRICS annual summit.
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.
But India has criticized the pact for putting trade facilitation ahead of a compromise on agricultural subsidies, a crucial issue for a country that needs to stockpile food for its poor. That disagreement over subsidies has raised fears that the Asian nation would not ratify the pact reached in Bali and derail the latest effort to free up to $1 trillion in global trade flows.
Borges said India's concern for the survival of its family agriculture on which millions depends is very understandable, but he said it was not an "ultimatum" against implementing the Bali agreement by the July 31 deadline.
South Africa's Trade Minister Rob Davies said his country had no difficulty in implementing the trade facilitation steps, but he said they should be balanced by complementary measures to help agriculture in poorer developing nations. "There has been a perception by many developing countries that there is an inexorable march towards implementation of trade facilitation, but the rest been left behind," he said. "The way to resolve this impasse is not to try to brow beat people to put up their hands and concede, but is actually to address the real concerns and issues that a number of the poorest countries are facing."
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)