Notwithstanding the failure of WTO members to reach a consensus on Trade Facilitation Agreement to simplify global customs rules, India today said it remains committed to the pact and will continue to pursue its proposal to find a permanent solution to its food security issues.
Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said the WTO will be on vacation for a month and during this time, India will focus on follow up action.
“This is a good enough time to think about our follow up action. Obviously our proposal is there on the table and we will pursue our proposal,” Kher said.
Last night, the 160-member World Trade Organization (WTO) at Geneva failed to agree on a global customs pact popularly called as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
India was always committed on the TFA, he said, adding, “We never went back on our commitments with regard to the TFA. We took our proposal (on public stockholding of foodgrains for poor people) to the WTO Director General in a proper manner. But we have not been able (to reach a consensus).”
On the western world blaming India for failure of Geneva talks, Kher said, “There is no question of being blamed… July 31 was not the deadline which could not have been extended. We are committed to the TFA.”
After more than a week of hectic deliberations, WTO chief Roberto Azevêdo reported to WTO ambassadors last night that despite intensive consultations, “we have not been able to find a solution that would allow us to bridge the gap” on the adoption of the protocol on the TFA.
He urged members “to reflect long and hard on the ramifications of this setback.”
“We got closer – significantly closer – but not quite there,” Azevêdo told members as the WTO Secretariat went on a month-long summer break starting today.
The deadline to adopt the Protocol on TFA was July 31. It was to be formally implemented in July 2015.
India has stick to its tough stand that it would not ratify the TFA until a permanent solution is found on food security issues.
Reacting to the development, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said America regrets that a handful of members have decided not to adhere to their commitment to implement the TFA consistent with the Bali agreement.
“The US has been fully committed to implement all elements of the Bali package, including the decision on food stockpiling, and has provided reassurances and clarifications, as requested,” Froman said.