London: India rejected a discussion paper on agriculture tariffs and subsidies at the WTO on 4 May, saying it fails to address the sensitivities of the developing countries, while favouring the developed nations.
“The most distorting and most structurally flawed part of the global trade is subsidy and it is not reflected in the paper,” Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told reporters here today.
The Reference Paper on Agriculture was circulated at a Special Session of the WTO in Geneva on April 30.
Nath, who is here for discussions with senior officials of G-4, said: “We must recognise that (agriculture) subsidy by developed countries pose serious challenge to the successful completion of the Doha Round. I am personally very disappointed that the Reference Paper is letting countries who are the biggest subsidisers, off the hook.”
The Minister, who during a 30-minute meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair requested him to persuade the US to be more realistic in recognising the sensitivities of emerging economies, said: “...the sensitivities of developing countries with millions of resource poor farmers, have been left effectively unaddressed (in the paper).”
He said India would work with various groupings of developing countries to put forward a common response to the proposals and options presented in the paper.
“India strongly feels that any outcome of the Doha Development Round, which tends to perpetuate structural flaws and distortions in agriculture trade... will run counter to the Doha mandate and risk another failure of the recently resumed negotiations,” he said. MORE PTI HSR YAS JM KM
The Minister said the paper suffers from a serious
imbalance in terms of the suggested way forward.
While it allows developed countries to provide agriculture subsidies, which are more than what they actually gave last year, the paper does not put any additional obligation on them to open up their markets for developing countries, Nath said.
“The Paper proposes stringent norms for the Special Products (of agriculture) of developing countries and LDCs, which are required to protect their food security.
“It also leaves the question of removal of subsidies relating to cotton by a major developed country, which has caused serious problems to many African LDCs, largely unanswered,” he added.