The Agreement on Agriculture hammered out by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is riddled with deep imbalances, which favour the developed countries, tilting the rules against many developing countries and this needs to be corrected as a first step in agriculture reform, minister of commerce and industry, consumer affairs and food and public distribution and textiles Piyush Goyal, said at a meeting of the G-33 grouping of WTO member states.
He said the historical asymmetries and imbalances must be corrected in order to ensure a rule-based, fair and equitable order and urged the G 33 members to work collectively to retain the cohesion of G-33 coalition and strengthen it further by reaching out to other like-minded developing groups to secure their support for a fair, balanced and development -centric outcome on agriculture at MC-12.
In his intervention the minister emphasised that as part of the trust-building exercise for MC 12, G-33 must strive for positive outcomes on permanent solution to Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes which is of utmost importance, finalisation of a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) quickly and a balanced outcome on domestic support.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of the G-33 Joint Ministerial Statement reaffirming commitment for expeditious resolution of the WTO’s mandated issues in agriculture. The meeting also called for satisfactorily addressing the development issues of developing countries and LDCs with Special and Differential Treatment as an integral part of international trade negotiations.
The G-33 Virtual Informal Ministerial meeting, organised by Indonesia on Friday, to discuss the agricultural priority issues of G33 and the way forward for the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC-12) scheduled to be held from 30 November to 3 December 2021.
The Informal Ministerial meeting was chaired by Indonesia’s minister of trade Muhammad Lutfi.
Director General of WTO, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, delivered the keynote remarks. Out of a total of 47 G-33 members, representatives from 21 member countries, including India, took the floor to make brief interventions.