WTO MC12: Will India be successful in Food Crisis Negotiations?

Food Crisis Negotiations

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Developing countries always face tax and trading issues while exporting products, especially food and fertilizers. Thus, the domestic economic devastation due to the complex rules on exports is increasing. Even after the pandemic, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has not changed the rules and regulations on local and international trading.

On 4th June 2022, Brajendra Navnit, Ambassador Permanent Representative to WTO stated that WTO should concentrate on reducing the global inflation and help the developing countries with their food security. In the upcoming 12th ministerial conference (MC 12) in Geneva, India will again focus on these negotiations. Even after two decades of the Doha Round, India still fights for food-crisis demands and thereby economic development.

What was Doha Round?

The Doha Round was put forward in November 2001 under then-director Mike Moore and held in Doha, Qatar. The simple objective of this ministerial conference was to focus on lowering trade barriers and revising trade rules to reform the international trading system. Also known as Doha Development Agenda (DDA), its fundamental objective was to improve the trading and economic conditions in developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, etc.

The DDA agenda failed and could not achieve the objectives of the agreement. Even in the conferences held in 2008, there were intense negotiations between European Union (EU), the United States (US), China, and India. However, the repetitive attempts to revive the talks could not resolve the conflicts.

Will the Geneva Conference give Positive Results for India?  

India has planned to propose the Doha Round Negotiations again at the Geneva conference. This mainly includes domestic food use and assistance to farmers. If these proposed plans get positive replies from WTO, developing countries including India will be able to tackle the following problems-

  • Food-crisis Handling– The DDA has proposed that the countries should have the flexibility to restrict the exports to the World Food Program (WFP) and instead use the stocks for domestic populations. India will again ask for freedom to use food procured by farmers for humanitarian purposes. This will create a secure food demand & supply chain in India and the country can avoid famine situations.
  • Farmers Subsidies– In the agricultural sector, DDA stated substantial improvements in market access and reductions in export subsidies. Additionally, providing farmers with higher subsidies for farming purposes will increase productivity and eventually increase the procurement of food.

Years of efforts by the Indian government and other governments of developing countries have attempted to balance the trading between developing and rich countries. However, due to the adamant nature of some developed countries, the efforts received negative comments and feedback over the years. This 12th Geneva conference is a hope for improvement in the negotiations to find a permanent solution to the food crisis.

Prajakta Zurale

Also Read: How To Prevent Contamination In Food Production

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