WTO peace clause required until food security concerns are addressed: India’s Finance Minister

India supports Trade Facilitation even without WTO commitments, says Arun Jaitley

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Arun-jaitley-WEF-The-Dollar-Business Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Government of India, speaking at the event (Pic source - WEF India Summit 2014)

  The Indian government has urged the WTO to allow the peace clause on Public Food Stockholding to continue until a permanent solution is found to help build a consensus on the adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Speaking at the 29th India Economic Summit held by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in New Delhi today, Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Government of India, said that India supports TFA, but has concerns over food security. Jaitley said, “There is no ideological opposition on this issue. Even without a commitment to WTO, India would unilaterally support moves to facilitate trade. However, a solution is required to the dispute regarding holding of food stocks by India. The peace clause should not be phased out till this dispute is settled.” To help achieve a consensus on TFA, the Bali ministerial conference last year had made way for an interim solution for four years. However, there are concerns in India that it would have to alter domestic food programmes if a solution is not reached by 2017. Jaitley also said that reforms, including land and labour reforms, are on to help improve ease of doing business in India. Later in the WEF India Summit, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said that the smartphone market is growing at the rate of 45% per year in India, the second highest growth rate after USA. This offers a huge opportunity for e-tailing and broadband distribution in India, he added. The WEF India Summit is taking place as the new government completes six months in office. Earlier, Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General, CII, said, “Business leaders are keen to engage with the government and see how it plans to restart the investment cycle, revive demand and convert the first signs of revival into a full-fledged recovery.”  

This article was published on November 5, 2014.