Economy

Food security: Negotiations for permanent solution by Dec, says WTO DG Azevedo

KR Srivats Jaipur | Updated on January 24, 2018

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) will strive to achieve a permanent solution on the critical issue of public stockholding (for food security purposes) by end December, its Director General Roberto Azevedo has said.

India should play a "leading role" in the coming months in achieving this outcome, Azevedo said at a special plenary session at the CII Partnership Summit in Jaipur on Friday.

20th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

Azevedo used the occasion of the special plenary session--marking the 20th Anniversary year of WTO-- to promise that 2015 will be a year where this multilateral trade body will deliver "more negotiating outcomes, more quickly".

" I know that the pace of negotiations remains a particular source of frustration. We will do everything we can to work towards more outcomes, more quickly over the next 12 months", Azevedo said.

He made it clear that there was "no complacency" on part of WTO and that the organisation was faced with real challenges.

"I am determined that we should do everything we can to tackle them – starting now, during this anniversary year".

PUBLIC STOCKHOLDING

Azevedo later told reporters that negotiations have already started for a permanent solution and that it is expected to get intensified and concluded by the end of the year,

All efforts will be taken by WTO to conclude negotiations (for a permanent solution) by December this year, he said.

In November last year, an impasse on Bali decision implementation (public stockholding limits) was resolved when it was clarified that the peace clause agreed in Bali would remain in force until a permanent solution is found.

"We have a target date to conclude the negotiations by December this year. So we don't have any time to lose", Azevedo said.

ACTION PACKED YEAR

Azevedo noted in his address that WTO had full negotiating agenda this year --including the July deadline to produce a detailed work programme on the remaining issues of the Doha Development Agenda.

This multilateral trade body will be working to implement all aspects of the Bali package – including a permanent solution on public stockholding.

WTO will also be holding its 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December — the first time a Ministerial Conference will be held in Africa.

"Success in each of these areas would be the best way to mark our anniversary", Azevedo said.

srivats.kr@thehindu.co.in

(This correspondent is at the Partnership Summit at Jaipur at the invitation of Confederation of Indian Industry)

Published on January 16, 2015

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