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UPA regime agreed on imperfect pact at WTO: Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley criticised the previous UPA regime for agreeing to go ahead with the agreement last year.

By: Press Trust of India | Mumbai | Published: August 27, 2014 11:10 pm

Blaming the UPA regime for agreeing on an “imperfect agreement” at WTO meet in Bali, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said Western countries find the stand taken by India as reasonable privately, but tend to complain publicly.

“Privately when we tell the visiting dignitaries that this is our stand, they find it very reasonable but I find statements in the press that they issue later on, that ‘India can be more reasonable’,” Jaitley said here late this evening, at an event hosted by the Indian Express group.

All the major powers of the world, including the US have criticised India for the hard stance which has resulted in the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement not getting passed by the July 31 deadline.

Jaitley criticised the previous UPA regime for agreeing to go ahead with the agreement at the trade minister’s meet at Bali in December last year.

“What were we doing at Bali when this was being done? And we came back home and tom-tomed Bali as a great victory. I had written a blog saying if Bali is accepted, the farce we have enacted by the Food Security Act stands repealed because you won’t have food to distribute,” he said.

He reiterated that the country’s basic concerns stand around protecting the Indian farmer, impacted because of the West’s agri subsidies, and feeding the poor.

Jaitley said: “All we have done is because Bali was an imperfect agreement, all that we are doing is, please go ahead with trade facilitation. The Bali accord says there will be a peace clause for 5 years, and we will come to a final settlement on the food stock holding agreement.

“The peace clause should continue till the disputes are settled, and that’s a clear stance we have taken.”

He added however that India is not averse to the trade facilitation agreement.

Meanwhile, Jaitely said that the high food inflation will always be a challenge and called it as a top priority for the government to tackle.

He pointed out however that there is a lot of seasonal element and good policies alone can’t help reduce inflation.

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  1. V
    V Gupta
    Aug 27, 2014 at 11:24 pm
    GOI is right in not signing the trade agreement as proposed but Mr. Jaitley is just baiting the old regime by saying that they had agreed to the proposed regime. That is simply not true otherwise how would Modi government now unsign it. Jaitley is too important a member of the Modi government to be indulging in such past time. He needs to stay above the fray and remain squarely focused on the critical tasks he faces in Finance and Defence. His public credibility is his main et.