Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Update on Bali package

from scroll.in
"While India is championing the cause of the least-developed countries, its primary focus is an agricultural agreement on food security. WTO rules mandate that countries cannot subsidise more than 10% of agriculture because it would distort the market, and the organisation has various other rules on minimum support prices for farmers and stock holding limits for grains. Simply the Food Security Act ensures that India’s agricultural subsidies could exceed these limits.
The Bali agreement sought to give India some leeway on this matter by putting its food security programme in an Amber Box – which means that other countries agree to a “peace clause” and will not legally challenge India subsidies even if they do breach WTO limits for the moment. This gives the organisation four years to work on a broader agricultural resolution.

Double Standard
India would like to put the entire programme into what in WTO parlance is known as the Green Box, making food security programmes completely legal rather than just permissible. China has also supported this position. It has also been convincingly argued that the position taken by the developed world – that this would distort the market – is a double standard. Agricultural economist Jacques Berthelot has argued for some time now that the United States has placed most of its hefty subsidies in the Green Box, while also under-notifying the amount of agriculture it subsidises.
For the moment, this means the WTO’s signature agreement – the Bali Package – is not going to be delivered any time soon."

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