Aggressively expose evil designs of developed countries, protect interests of Third World

(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)

What do we expect from the developed countries at the forthcoming 9th WTO Ministerial at Bali in Indonesia in December 3-6? The answer is they will give us NOTHING and try to take away EVERYTHING. Hence India and other developing countries should not give up their fight against injustice in the multilateral trade forum till they get the ultimate justice.

India this time should take the lead as its ambitious National Food Security Programme has come under attack from the US and the European Union. It is most outrageous for the developed world to point out fingers at a mere Rs 90,000 crore annual expenditure in India for feeding millions of hungry mouth and also to object to public stockholding of food-grains for this gigantic mission.

India’s posture at the WTO should not be mere defensive, it should be aggressive too. India should take up the task of exposing the massive trade-distorting subsidies given by the US and the European Union to their large farmers and corporate agri-business amounting to billions of dollars and euros. The developed countries are shifting their trade-distorting subsidies to Blue Box and Green Box so that they will not be called upon to make cuts in their subsidy programme. This is a dangerous game which should be exposed.

Trade facilitation is on the agenda for negotiations at the WTO Bali Ministerial. It is a good thing to remove delays in customs clearances and congestions at ports. But the major hurdles to trade facilitation are the politically motivated sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and several technical and non-tariff barriers imposed by developed countries to prevent the goods from the Third World entering their markets. High tariff barriers in developed world are also designed to prevent imports from the developing countries. How far will a negotiation on trade facilitation  be justified as long as the developed countries are allowed to continue with their politically motivated non-tariff barriers and high bound custom duties?

The European Union gives massive subsidy to only 5% of its people, mostly large estate holders, who generate just 1.6% of the GDP. More than 57 billion euros or 49 billion pounds are given as direct payments to farmers, mostly with large land holdings. Subsidies are also given for keeping their land fallow , citing environmental reasons.  Besides there are other indirect subsidies and support for specific crops . The US food stamp programme is pegged at $60 to 70 billion every year and billions of dollars are earmarked for crop insurance programme. Compared to these massive subsidies given in the developed world , that given by India and other developing countries to their small and marginal farmers are just peanuts.

The new WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo is very anxious to get a deal struck at the Bali Ministerial so that he can take the credit of getting the first agreed multilateral text inked since the inception of WTO in 1995. But Azevedo should know that he hails from a developing country and hence he will be committing a heinous crime on his people if he facilitates signing of an unfair deal.

A dangerous plot is being hatched to trap the developing countries by suggesting to bring back the controversial Peace Clause by which the developed countries will be able to protect their high subsidy regime more while the developing countries will be allowed to continue with their food security programmes. Rather India and other developing countries should demand creation of a separate Food Security Box solely for the Third World.

Food Security in developing countries is a matter of feeding millions of hungry mouths and to aid the fulfillment of UN Millennium Development Goals, which are not likely to met by 2015 primarily due to the non-fulfillment of commitment to finance under ODA to the extent of 0.7% Gross National Income.


(Editorial : Kisan Ki Awaaz Magazine)















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