Business & Economy

Commerce Dept. terms Tamil video on WTO in social media “factually incorrect”

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, May 6, 2016

The Department of Commerce has termed as “factually incorrect” a statement by Tamil activist Thirumurugan Gandhi in a video posted on Facebook claiming that an agreement to end distribution of foodgrains and discontinuation of and provisions through Public Distribution System (PDS) and other such measures had been signed at the WTO Ministerial conference in Nairobi in December 2015.
“This is completely wrong. No such agreement was signed. There were no proposals for closure of ration shops, for discontinuing subsidies to farmers or for allowing imports of food items,” an official statement said.
The allegation that the Government had stopped procurement of rice/food products and subsidies to farmers was also completely wrong, it added.
“Mr Thirumurugan Gandhi’s claim that the agreement has been kept secret was not only baseless, it also reflects upon the knowledge of the speaker about the procedures of the World Trade Organization,” it said.
The Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO resulted in decisions in the area of agriculture, development and some issues relating to the Least Developed Countries. All these are public documents and are available at the official website of the WTO (www.wto.org).
“The WTO rules do not bar public procurement for food security purposes. As far as the limit of support is concerned, India has been working to have the WTO rules in this regard updated. This is to ensure that we are not constrained by the WTO rules in making public procurement in future also,” the Department said.
The Ministerial decision on the issue of Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes was achieved mainly due to the efforts made by India.
“This Government has ensured that no country will ever be able to challenge our procurement/public food distribution programmes for violation of the relevant WTO rules. At the Nairobi Conference, this Government has further ensured that the WTO will have to continue to work on this issue, even if there is no progress on other issues under negotiation,” it added.
The Ministerial decision on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes adopted in the Nairobi Ministerial Conference reaffirms earlier decisions on the issue adopted at the Bali Ministerial Conference and subsequently by the General Council on November 27, 2014 which when read together, mandate a permanent solution by the 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO.
Even without the permanent solution, India can continue with its public procurement programmes, the statement said.
NNN
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