India Decides: No to WTO Food Control

India Decides: No to WTO Food Control

July 25, 2014 • 9:25AM

As the WTO began a two-day meeting in Geneva Thursday, India’s government made the final decision not to sign the trade protocol which the Empire has desperately tried to ram through, giving the WTO dictatorial powers to limit grain subsidies to a nation’s farmers and food supplies to the poor. Since the WTO works on consensus, the program is essentially dead.

India currently runs a huge, $22 billion annual food subsidy program, including a grain stockpile, to feed its hundreds of millions of poor. The WTO agreement would give India an “exception” until 2017, but would in principle [sic] ban the practice, in the name of free trade. India refuses to trust the WTO to come up with a solution—and therefore won’t sign.

The Global Development and Environment Institute (GDEA) at Tufts University released a report (published in Al Jazeera yesterday) strongly backing India’s stand. Timothy Wise and Jeronim Capaldo of GDAE wrote that “The potential gains from that agreement, reached last December in Bali, Indonesia, are vastly overstated, and they flow primarily to rich countries and private sector traders. Meanwhile, the United States and other developed countries have made little effort to resolve the legitimate demands that developing country food security programs be exempted from archaic stipulations of the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).”

They detail the crimes of the Empire: “The United States and others argued that India’s recent expansion of its National Food Security Program constitutes a trade-distorting agricultural subsidy because the government buys Indian farmers rice and wheat at administered prices, which are generally above market prices. The hypocrisy of longtime U.S. agricultural dumpers accusing developing countries of dumping is bad enough. But this particular U.S. complaint is even more cynical. India’s support prices are only slightly higher than current market prices, but they appear much higher because of the AoA stipulation that administered prices be compared not to current prices but to the average international prices in 1986-88 (!). Those are roughly one-sixth of current market prices, so any price the government pays today would look like a huge subsidy.”

They add that the G-33 (a group of developing countries that coordinate trade policies) “has been asking the WTO since 2006 to reopen the AoA to at least update that reference price to account for inflation. The U.S. and others have refused.”

Wise and Capaldo also point out, “The stakes are higher than just the Bali Package. They go to the heart of the WTO’s so-called Doha Development Agenda and the principle of the single undertaking under which an agreement is valid only if agreements are reached in every area of negotiation. The United States and other exporting countries have pushed hard for firm commitments from developing countries on trade facilitation… but have offered no reciprocal commitment to negotiate in good faith on the flaws in the existing WTO Agreement on Agriculture, or on the specific Bali issue of public food reserves for food security.”

Thus, this is another example of the fact that the NWEO being put in place by the BRICS and their allies has given the power to sovereign states to resist the deadly imperial monster.

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