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World Trade Organization (WTO) Proposes New Agriculture Package

Dimple Gupta
Dimple Gupta
WTO proposed new agricultural packages

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to issue a new draft text for a prospective agriculture package ahead of a major ministerial summit later this month to break the gridlock in farm discussions.

Immediate deliverables on improved transparency, such as shipments in transit or advance notice of export restrictions, language on a possible exemption from export restrictions for the UN World Food Programme, and the inclusion of specific post-ministerial deadlines for some topics, could all be included in the package.

Costa Rica's Gloria Abraham Peralta, the head of agriculture discussions, will introduce the updated document later this week. The previous version of the text was released in July.

The proposed package comes after negotiations on agriculture subsidies stalled because China, India, the African Group, and the Group of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States insisted on first looking into trade-distorting subsidies provided by rich nations.

Sources stated there are still arguments on whether to extend the peace clause to all emerging members and new items when it comes to subsidies for public stockholding programmes. The peace clause shields developing country food procurement programmes, such as India's, from WTO retaliation if subsidy limitations, which are set at 10% of the value of food production in India and other developing nations, are broken.

According to reports, the EU and Canada agreed with the Chair that a full-fledged solution on public stockholding (PSH) at the forthcoming ministerial is beyond of reach, but were prepared to accept a PSH enlargement to LDCs.

"However, India advised against distinguishing LDCs from developing nations for the purpose of obtaining a solution" - a Geneva-based official said, adding that New Delhi urged members not to fall into the trap.

India has recommended that subsidies for food security programmes be authorized without restrictions as part of the G33.

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