Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation 2013
What is WTO Ministerial Conference?
The WTO Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the World Trade Organization which regularly convenes every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.
The conference has key issues to discuss viz. Trade facilitation, Agriculture negotiations, Cotton Least-developed countries Monitoring mechanism, Small and vulnerable economies, Yemen’s accession, E-commerce “Non-violation” in intellectual property, etc.
What was India’s stand at the Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation 2013 ?
India decided not to agree to the ‘Peace Clause’ for agriculture subsidies that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo has proposed for Bali talks.
Here, India stands to seek safeguards for subsidies given to the farmers for food security purposes by poor countries. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said that for India, food security is non-negotiable, it is an integral part of the millennium development goals and the need for public stockholding of food grains to ensure food security must be respected, and for this WTO rules must be updated.
For this valuable cause, India got support from many WTO members like South Africa, Nepal, Egypt, Uganda, Namibia, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mauritius and Nicaragua, etc.
What is the Peace Clause under current context and why an issue over this Peace Clause?
Under this ‘Peace Clause’, developing countries can provide WTO-prohibited subsidies to farmers without inviting any dispute under the Agreement on Agriculture, developed countries will have the right to drag these countries to the WTO Disputes Settlement Body, under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. This would render the peace clause null-and-void.
Note : Developed countries pressurizing India to accept a peace clause, which offers four years of immunity against penalties imposed for breaching the farm subsidy cap of 10 per cent under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).
Outcome of the 9th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Because of India’s concern of Food security, WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference revised draft decisions on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allow developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally.
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