New Delhi: India expects “some positive movement” in the final drafts of the WTO negotiations on agriculture and non-agricultural market access, or NAMA, set to be released on 10 July, said a commerce ministry official asking not to be named.
“Indications are that India’s demands will be met on most issues in agriculture negotiations like special products (SPs) and special safeguard mechanism (SSM) while some issues like the farm subsidies will be left for the ministerial negotiations (starting on 21 July),” the official said.
SSM is an intervention that allows developing countries to protect domestic producers when imports cross a certain limit.
India has demanded a threshold limit much lower than what is proposed by the developed world.
Special products are the number of agriculture products on which a developing country can ask for tariff relaxation. India has demanded a greater number of SPs for itself.
Suparna Karmakar, senior fellow at New Delhi-based think tank International Council of Research on International Economic Relations, feels that if India can get SPs and SSM issues resolved according to its demands, then the “government will find it easier to sell the final package (or the eventual deal) within the country”.
The latest drafts that detail the extent of permissible subsidies and tariff cuts are a revision on the 19 May texts released earlier in the year.
They will provide the blueprint for discussions during the ministerial meeting starting 21 July.
Among the outstanding issue in NAMA, India has singled out demands of an “anti-concentration” provision by the developed countries as an unacceptable one.
These demands are about greater restrictions on developing countries with regard to protecting certain sectors from tariff cuts.