- Recently, while addressing the G-33 Virtual Informal Ministerial Meeting, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister pointed out the imbalances in the Agreement on Agriculture at the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- He claimed that it was in favour of developed countries and historical asymmetries and imbalances must be corrected to ensure a rule-based, fair and equitable order.
- He urged that G33 must strive for positive outcomes on a permanent solution to Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes, finalization of a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) quickly and a balanced outcome on Domestic Support.
- It is a forum of developing countries formed during the Cancun ministerial conference of the WTO, to protect the interest of the developing countries in agricultural trade negotiations.
- India is a part of the G33, which is a group of 47 developing and least developed countries.
- It was created in order to help group countries which were all facing similar problems. The G33 has proposed special rules for developing countries at WTO negotiations, like allowing them to continue to restrict access to their agricultural markets.
- It is aimed to remove trade barriers and to promote transparent market access and integration of global markets.
- The WTO’s Agriculture Committee oversees implementation of the Agreement and provides a forum for members to address related concerns.
- It calls for reduction in domestic subsidies that distorts free trade and fair price.
- Under this provision, the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) is to be reduced by 20% over a period of 6 years by developed countries and 13% over a period of 10 years by developing countries.
- Market access for goods in the WTO means the conditions, tariff and non-tariff measures, agreed by members for the entry of specific goods into their markets.
- Market access requires that tariffs fixed (like custom duties) by individual countries be cut progressively to allow free trade. It also required countries to remove non-tariff barriers and convert them to Tariff duties.
- Subsidy on inputs of agriculture, making export cheaper or other incentives for exports such as import duty remission etc are included under export subsidies.
- These can result in dumping of highly subsidized (and cheap) products in other countries and damage the domestic agriculture sector of other countries.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT