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Collapse of WTO Talks on Food Security

Food security is a condition related to supply of food and individuals' access to it. Concerns over food security in India have existed throughout history. In a recent ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States (US) denied to reach a decision concerning the issue of food subsidy.

This has crushed India’s hopes of securing a beneficial deal for its food security programme. The US has clearly refused to offer any more relaxation with regard to food security programmes to both India and China, to which it had agreed in Bali. The main issue revolves around India’s developing country status. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stated that there is something wrong when five of the six richest countries claim developing status. To this, commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu responded that although India’s GDP is rising fast, it is a home for a huge number of poor people with its per capita income lower than that of rich countries. India has been struggling since long to reach an outcome on public stockholding of grains, which is a livelihood issue. India wants to purchase, stockpile and distribute food without being challenged in the trade body. There would hardly be any loss to developed countries if they allow higher public stockholding by developing countries. With Trump administration's non-engagement, it is difficult to reach an outcome. Yet, ministerial host Argentina is rigid. It believes that arriving at a decision is necessary and failure isn’t an option.

By: Anuja Arora



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