What is the WTO trade-facilitation talks about?

getimageWhy the new Modi government minister Nirmala Seetharaman has said that the Bali agreement won’t be ratified by India?

You see the new move by the new government is called a strategic mistake by a section of the Indian opinion and media as well. Why?

The WTO is a world trade body, trade facilitation body which aims, among other things, a multi-lateral trade facilitation organisation.

Multilateral trade means what?

It means as far as possible world trade must be free and open and must help all countries of the world. Both the big countries and small countries. Both the countries as food grains producers as well as countries as consumers. Both as food grains exporters as well as food grains importers.

This in simple language is what the WTO is about.

Now, you see the WTO trade negotiations are a continuing, ongoing process. It has done much good work that has made the world trade from several restricts. Unless you have well-defined regulations   the rich and powerful countries, like, say the USA and EU, the most developed parts of the world could simply swamp the not so powerful countries and economies and dictate terms both for price and also  for the quantity of food grains exporters.

There are also many other issues. Say a new country, a newly powerful economy like China can simply resort to “dump” the export surplus products at cheaper prices.
This, the dumping of cheap products below the world trade agreed prices.
The point here is that the world needs a WTO, right?

So, also India, as a large country, a large economy and also as a large agricultural country needs the support and backup of a body like the WTO, than any other country or countries.

Last year there was this Bali ministerial (meet) in which certain agreements were reached. We needn’t go into those agreements in any detail.

It is enough to note that thanks to the Bali agreement the much-talked about Doha Round of the WTO has been reactivated.

Now, the new government of Modi, because it is new or because it is an alternative to the UPA, the new minister has made some distorted statement.

The media has criticised her for the obvious reason or reasons that multilateral negotiations is not doe in a day. Nor such negotiations are reached saily with one party.

As pointed out in an editorial by the Business Standard newspaper, such a negotiation calls for many persons, many countries and also many vetoes.

Yes, every country that considers its trade is affected will protest and veto others proposals.

That is why it is, WTO’s negotiations are very slow and also very tiresome and also very boring indeed!

No one wants to read more about such intricate negotiations. As magazine committed to India’s basic strength of promoting agriculture and also serving the largest interests of the largest number of people, namely farmers  and consumers, the rich and the poor, the Agriculture & Industry magazine is committed to a multilateral system of trade and we support the WTO negotiations while heartedly.
Much more we welcome experts on this tricky topic to join in our website debate (www.agricultureinformation.com) to add new insights and new information on the topic.

What are Indian demands the minister wants?
Let the country know more about the new government’s trade policy?
The critical questions are about Indian agri policy of giving a higher MSP to agri producers.

Indian policy of giving higher subsidies to food security schemes.

These two policies, to put it crudely, distort agricultural trade in the international market and so many countries object to India’s these two policy priorities.
So, what the major food grains exporting countries want from India?

We think that the bigger agri exporters, like the USA, why even the EU, Russia in particular and other wheat and other major agri commodity exporters want India to open up its vast market.

China also is a big player in the agri commodities market.
Customs, port infrastructure and more trasnparency, less paperwork are some other issues.

Of course, if India gives more food subsidies then the foreign exporters won’t get a good market in India for their produces.

There are issues and issues and more issues in trade, more so in agricultural trade.
Agriculture affects the most vulnerable sections in any country.

Even in the USA which is otherwise supposed to be a major agricultural power.
But India is becoming a power in itself. Indian economy is seen as the third largest world economy.

So this calls for also playing a more responsible role. Indian should not be seen as only interested in its own welfare and so selfish and so self-cantered and so protectionist.

The word protectionist is now not a happy word. It shows one’s narrow world view, one’s lack of a more open-mindedness and also an open economy based liberal; world.

You see how the latest international events, disasters, in the shooting down of the Malaysian passenger plane created a revulsion against Ukraine and Russia. How the shooting down of Gaza strip defenceless people by Israel has created much revulsion against that country.

A country should be welcomed and liked in the international arena. Not to be labelled as an international pariah!

This is a basic lesson in international affairs. Be it trade or politics.

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