India has been participating in Ministerial Conference (MC)11 in good faith and in a spirit of constructive engagement. We have tried our best to engage with members in all formats. We have been proponents in several areas of work in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including public stockholding for food security purposes, agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism, agricultural domestic support and E-commerce. We are committed to preserving and promoting the WTO and the multilateral trading system with a view to take the agreed agenda of the WTO forward.
Leading up to the Ministerial and at the Ministerial itself, India’s coalition partners have remained steadfast in their support not only for a permanent solution on public stockholding but also on other issues of interest to developing countries. India was supported by over a 100 WTO member countries on all agriculture issues including our proposal to set the direction of agriculture reforms by first eliminating the most trade-distorting form of subsidies used mainly by the rich developed countries. The 53-member African Group as well as a large number of developing countries have rallied around and firmly supported us in opposing rules on E-commerce and bringing in new issues such as Investment Facilitation and MSMEs into the WTO’s agenda.
Today in the agriculture negotiations in Buenos Aires, a major country stated categorically that they cannot agree to any permanent solution on the public stockholding issue at MC11. This has posed a severe threat to a successful conclusion of the Conference as there was a Ministerial mandate for a permanent solution by MC11. India is surprised and deeply disappointed that despite an overwhelming majority of Members reiterating it, a major member country has reneged on a commitment made two years ago to deliver a solution of critical importance for addressing hunger in some of the poorest countries of the world. This has the potential to irreversibly damage the credibility of the WTO as a Ministerial Decision of all countries present in Nairobi has not been honoured.
India continues to participate in the efforts to draft a credible Ministerial Declaration. We are firm that any Ministerial Declaration must reaffirm the principles of the multilateral trading system, the completion of the Doha Development Agenda, the centrality of development and the availability of special and differential treatment and other concerns of developing countries.