PM Modi is visiting China to push for a food security agreement at the World Trade Organization besides other areas on which they can find common ground at the multilateral level. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s China visit that began on Thursday will likely see a cooperation pact on WTO issues on which they agree. A permanent solution to food security is one of India’s key demands and is critical for China as well.
What Is The Current Scenario?
The current WTO standards limit subsidies at 10% of the total value of production of a particular crop, but the support is calculated at 1986-88 prices. The G-33, a cluster of 46 developing countries, has sought a revision of the base to a more recent price structure. Global food prices have increased manifold during this period with India having experienced inflation of about 650% overall.
What Happens Post-Revision?
Developing countries are supporting the draft text of 2008, which allows programs supporting low-income or farmers with lesser resources, but the developed world wants it debated again, which could make a deal unlikely by the July deadline. The draft being conferred in Geneva also proposes a reduction of over 50% in farm tariffs for developed countries to be implemented over 5 years and about a one-third reduction in tariffs for developing countries over 10 years.
China also has a public procurement program that sets minimum procurement prices (MPP) for wheat and rice through the central committee of the Communist Party of China and the state council. This is to safeguard farm livelihoods by increasing incomes and ensuring national food security.