The WTO is considering delaying a decision on national storage until MC14.

The WTO is considering postponing a decision on the Permanent Public Stock (PSH) food security solution favored by India and many developing countries to the next Ministerial Conference (MC14), likely in 2026, if disagreements arise. MC13 next month will not be resolved between members. “But India, along with the G33 group of developing countries, the African group and the ACP group, will continue to emphasize independent outcomes in the PSH and special safeguards in the MC13,” said a Geneva-based trade official. MC13 will be operated on the 26th-29th. February in Abu Dhabi.

Permanent Solution 

A permanent solution to PSH is important for India and many other developing countries as it would justify higher subsidies for storage programs such as MSP, which is currently capped at 10 percent of output value. A peace clause agreed at the Bali ministerial meeting in 2013 gives many developing countries, including India, immunity from legal action by other members if PSH subsidies exceed the threshold. But it is burdened with many conditions, and developing countries want legitimacy added to the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. At the MC13 conference on Tuesday, the chairman of the WTO’s agricultural committee shared a draft negotiating text for a possible agreement on agriculture, which members agreed to use as a basis for further discussion, although many say it is not complete, the official said .

Two options

“There are two options for the PSH in the draft negotiation text. The first is a permanent solution based on a proposal from the G33, the African Group and the ACP Group, while the second involves setting parameters for an ongoing one. discussions to reach a permanent solution at MC14,” the official added. India and about 80 other developing countries called for an agreement on PSH that would be separate from other agricultural issues, as enshrined at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in 2015. They are disappointed that although a mandate was given at the Bali Ministerial in 2017 to find a permanent solution, this has not yet been achieved by 2024. New Delhi warned members not to fall into the trap of pushing everyone towards MC14 and said that development work together proposed that countries be used as a basis for PSH negotiations. “India has said that it is still possible to decide on the PSH, as shown by the experience in the Bali ministerial conference, where the ‘peace clause’ was presented just weeks before the meeting,” the official said.

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