India uses peace clause to help rice farmers

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India has used the peace clause of the WTO to give immense support ways to rice farmers for marketing year 2018-19 for meeting domestic food security requirements of its poor population.

Under the Peace Clause, WTO members cannot challenge any breach in stated subsidy ceiling told by a developing nation at the dispute settlement forum of the Geneva-based organisation.

Subsidies over and above the advised ceiling are seen as trade distorting. The limit is set at 10 per cent of the value of food manufacturing for developing countries like India.

In a statement, India has told the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that the cost of its rice production was USD 43.67 billion in 2018-19 and for that it given subsidies worth USD 5 billion, which is in reach of advised 10 per cent ceiling.

“India’s breach of commitment for rice, a traditional staple food crop in Agreement on Agriculture arises from aid given in pursuance of public stockholding initiatives for food security purposes, which were in continuation as of the date of the Bali Ministerial Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes,” the notification said.

It said that the country’s public stockholding programmes for food security purposes (covering rice and a number of other commodities) have been consistently reported to the WTO.