More reports on: Trade

India, China oppose US move for "differentiation" among developing countries

21 February 2015

India and China have opposed US move to introduce a concept of "differentiation" among developing nations in the trade negotiations on agriculture as it would put emerging countries at a disadvantage vis-a-vis developed countries.

Speaking at the WTO General Council meeting, US trade negotiators said some studies have indicated that it will have to make significant cuts in the outlays for domestic support under the present draft modalities while countries like China and India get concessions ad developing countries.

India and China have expanded trade distorting payments exponentially since 2008, but these countries do not have to do much to reduce their subsidies, an outcome that the US cannot endorse, the US negotiator said, terming it as "blood for water" or "blood for air".

Quoting figures provided by US farm lobby firm DTB Associates on five developing nations - China, India, Brazil, Turkey and Thailand on Friday, US negotiators said these countries have breached the maximum aggregate measure of support (AMS) and have increased their minimum support prices for crops.

The Doha Round of the WTO provides for special and differential treatment for developing countries to enable them to meet their needs, particularly food security.

The US  is now batting for differentiation within the developing countries, so that countries like India and China do not benefit from the WT provisions.

India and other emerging countries have rejected the concept of differentiation and have called for respecting the existing mandate.

On the other hand, India stated that trade for commercial purposes that impinges on policy space does not lead to development and that the present global trading system is highly inequitable and there was a need to level the playing field.

The present round was for trade for development, not for enhancing market access and outcomes should be fair and equitable, India stated.

China argued it was important not to mix different kinds of domestic support. It said there was a difference between giving domestic support to big and rich farmers and support to poor farmers.

The member states have a deadline of obtaining a detailed work program for post Bali agenda by the end of July.

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