WTO suggests 3 scenarios to resolve impasse

WTO suggests 3 scenarios to resolve impasse

WTO suggests 3 scenarios to resolve impasse

With India sticking to its tough stand at WTO, the multilateral trade body today suggested three scenarios to resolve the impasse over trade facilitation agreement and food security issues.

"We still do not have a solution to the impasse before us — the impasse that establishes a political link between the public stock-holding programmes and the Trade Facilitation Agreement," WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo told heads of delegations in Geneva.

He asked members to continue discussing three potential scenarios of ways forward.

"Scenario 1 is that we find a solution for the impasse quickly. Scenario 2 is that we continue our search for a solution to the current impasse," he suggested.

Under the third scenario, "in the absence of a solution to the impasse", some members have indicated an openness to look for alternative ways to make progress, he said. He said that there are two alternatives for the third scenario.

"Scenario 3A is that members seek implementation of the TFA as a plurilateral agreement outside the WTO. If this happens then I am afraid that the other Bali decisions and the post-Bali agenda will not have a bright future. But, overall, I have not heard much sympathy for this approach during my consultations," he added.

Further he said the full implementation of the Bali package, as it was agreed in Bali in December last year, remains the best option - "but this course of action is blocked, for now".

Therefore, he said, there is a need to make the best of a bad situation and "ensure that whatever happens, we are in the best possible position in terms of preserving the credibility of this Organisation".

After the inconclusive meeting of the General Council of the World Trade Organisation on October 21, negotiations were going on among member countries to resolve the issues.

"...what I have picked up in my consultations over the last few weeks — that we are truly at a watershed moment for this organization, whether we like it or not," he added.

India had made it clear that it would not ratify the TFA until a permanent solution was found on the food security issue.

New Delhi had asked WTO to amend the norms for calculating agriculture subsidies so that the country could continue to procure foodgrains from farmers at minimum support price and sell them to poor at cheaper rates without violating the norms.

The current WTO norms limit the value of food subsidies at 10 per cent of the total value of foodgrain production. However, the quantum of subsidy is computed after taking into consideration prices that prevailed two decades ago.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox