India defends decision to ban rice and wheat exports at WTO meeting
India defended its decision to ban the export of wheat and rice at a WTO meeting even as some member countries raised concerns about the country’s stance, an official says .
At a meeting last week in Geneva, Senegal, the United States and the European Union raised questions about the move, saying it could have negative implications for global markets.
In May, India restricted wheat exports to increase domestic supply. This month it also banned the export of broken rice and imposed a 20% export duty on non-Basmati rice, except parboiled rice, to boost domestic supply in a context of a decline in the area cultivated with paddy during the current Kharif season.
Defending its decision, India said the export ban on broken rice, which is used in poultry feed, follows an increase in grain exports in recent months that has put pressure on the indoor market.
In the case of wheat, food security concerns necessitated export restrictions.
India also said the measures were temporary in nature and under continuous monitoring, the official said.
Senegal, a major importer of Indian broken rice and other rice products, urged India to keep trade open in these difficult times to ensure food sufficiency, the official added.
At the meeting, Thailand, Australia, Uruguay, the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Paraguay and Japan requested consultations with India regarding the use of the peace clause to protect its food programs from actions resulting from trade disputes.
In April, India invoked the peace clause, for the third time, for exceeding the 10% cap on support it offers to rice farmers. He informed the World Trade Organization that he has used the WTO peace clause to provide excess support measures to rice farmers for the 2020-21 marketing year to meet the domestic food security needs of his country. poor population.
Under the Peace Clause, WTO member countries refrain from challenging any breach of the prescribed subsidy cap by a developing country before the WTO dispute settlement forum.
Subsidies exceeding the prescribed ceiling are considered trade distorting. The limit is set at 10% of the value of food production for developing countries like India.
India has been strongly advocating for a permanent solution to the problem, but no progress has been made so far.
The WTO, a 164-member multilateral body based in Geneva, deals with global exports and import standards. In addition, it adjudicates trade disputes between member countries.
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