WTO MC12: India’s Minister Piyush Goyal Backs People-First Approach To World Trade

In Seeking a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security during plenary session at the 12th Ministerial Conference of WTO.

India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal further said that finding a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security should be the top-most priority of the MC12. The world is witnessing high food prices, threatening the survival of millions and subjugating the poor and vulnerable nations to imperfect markets, he added.

“Our collective moral obligation is to ensure that no person, anywhere in the world, goes to bed hungry and WTO rules should facilitate this.

An important issue for India at the WTO pertains to protection of its food grain procurement programme at minimum support prices (MSP). MSP is the price at which the government buys crops from farmers if the market price falls below it. The WTO’s agreement on agriculture rules limits the subsidy that can be provided to the products that are procured.

At the meeting, India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal attacked the text, armed with data. He added: “Many countries in both hemispheres have allowed their vast industrial fleets to exploit and plunder the riches of the ocean over the past several decades, leading to highly volatile fishing.”

In a strong counter-challenge, he further underlined that the ‘common but distinct responsibility’ and ‘polluter payment principle’ should be the basis of any agreement relating to sustainability.

Several other developing countries also echoed the comments made by Goyal, claiming that the result of the ongoing exercise is not providing an equal opportunity to the developing countries to fulfill the aspirations of traditional fishermen and their livelihood. He urged developing countries to be wary of such attempts.

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