WTO standoff Over; India, US reach Agreement on Food Stockpiling

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New Delhi, Nov 13: Clearing a way for implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement at World Trade Organization (WTO), India and United States have resolved an impasse over the issues relating to food security.

While safeguarding interest of Indian farmers, the US agreed to support India's proposal on public stockpiling of food to facilitate signing of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), ending months of stalemate. 

The breakthrough was announced by commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who said India and the US have successfully resolved their differences on the public stock holding issue for food security and it is expected to solve the impasse at the WTO.

However, the minister did not reveal any details of the agreement worked out between the two nations.

"The WTO General Council has to consider India's proposal," Sitharaman said, expressing the hope that approval would clear the way for India to sign a protocol enabling implementation of the trade accord.

"WTO General Council will receive India's proposal and US will support us," Sitharaman said, while adding that there was a greater understanding of India's position after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US.

Earlier, India had opposed the Trade Facilitation Agreement only because some of the WTO rules were proving to be a hindrance to the Indian government's policy for food security. And India was supported by the countries including South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela and other emerging economies on its stand.

Sitharaman denied that India had been isolated at the WTO, saying, India would now continue to back the implementation of the global trade agreement.

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