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WTO may propose new agriculture package.

Date: 17-11-2021
Subject: WTO may propose new agriculture package
Ahead of a key ministerial conference, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is likely to float a revised draft text for a possible agriculture package to break the deadlock in farm talks at the meeting later this month.

Possible immediate deliverables on improved transparency, including on shipments en route or advance notice for export restrictions, language on a possible exemption from export restrictions for UN World Food Programme, and the possibility of including specific post-ministerial deadlines for some topics, could be part of the package.

The revised text will be presented by chair of agriculture negotiations, Costa Rica's Gloria Abraham Peralta, later this week. The previous text was introduced in July.

The proposed package comes after talks on farm subsidies got stuck as China, India, the African Group, and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries insisted that trade distorting subsidies given by developed countries be checked first.

On subsidies for public stockholding programmes, disagreements remain on whether to expand the peace clause to all developing members and new products, sources said. The peace clause protects the food procurement programmes of developing countries such as India against action from WTO members in case the subsidy ceilings-10% of value of food production in the case of India and other developing countries- are breached.

As per sources, the EU and Canada shared the Chair's view that a full-fledged solution on public stockholding (PSH) at the upcoming ministerial is out of reach but were willing to support an expansion of the PSH to least developed countries. "However, India warned of the danger of differentiating LDCs from developing members for the sake of reaching a solution," said a Geneva-based official, adding that New Delhi asked members not to fall into the trap.

India, as part of the G33, has proposed that subsidies for food security programmes should be allowed without any limits.


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