India to pitch for permanent solution to food stockholding at WTO meet next month

New Delhi, May 20 (PTI) India will make a pitch for finding a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security in the WTO meet in Geneva starting June 12, an official said.

Besides, issues including agri subsidies and World Food Programme will be on the agenda of the 12th ministerial conference, the highest decision making body of the 164-member World Trade Organization (WTO), the official said.

For the meeting, the Indian team will be led by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

“Finding permanent solution to public stockholding will be our key demand,” the official added.
Under global trade norms, a WTO member country’s food subsidy bill should not breach the limit of 10 per cent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.

As part of permanent solution, India has asked for things like amendments in the formula to calculate the food subsidy cap and inclusion of programmes implemented after 2013 under the ambit of ‘Peace Clause’.

As an interim measure, the WTO members at the Bali ministerial meeting in December 2013 had agreed to put in place a mechanism popularly called Peace Clause and committed to negotiating an agreement for a permanent solution.

Under Peace Clause, WTO members agreed to refrain from challenging any breach in prescribed ceiling by a developing nation at the dispute settlement forum of the WTO.

This clause will stay till a permanent solution is found to the food stockpiling issue.