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Thursday, November 13, 2014, 17:08

India makes deal with US, ends WTO stand-off

By Agencies

 India makes deal with US, ends WTO stand-off
In this photograph taken on July 8, 2014 Indian workers remove a plastic sheet covering sacks of wheat at a storage facility on the outskirts of Amritsar. (AFP PHOTO / NARINDER NANU/FILES)
NEW DELHI - India Thursday said it has reached an agreement with the United States on food stockpiling, ending a months-long stand-off at World Trade Organization (WTO) over a global trade facilitation deal.

"India and the United States have resolved their differences on public stockholding of food. This opens the way for implementation of the WTO trade facilitation deal," Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the media.

The commerce minister, however, refused to share details of the agreement with the United States which had earlier stalled the global trade deal as India had refused to ratify it.

"The WTO general council has now to consider India's proposal. WTO general council will receive India's proposal and the United States will support us," she added.

The agreement should give new momentum to multilateral efforts at the WTO, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Thursday.

"On the basis of this breakthrough with India, we now look forward to working with all WTO Members and with Director-General Roberto Azevedo to reach a consensus that enables full implementation of all elements of the landmark Bali Package, including the Trade Facilitation Agreement," Froman said in a statement.

USTR said the US-India agreement meant the trade facilitation agreement should be implemented without conditions. It made clear that WTO members would not challenge food security programs under WTO dispute settlement procedures until a permanent solution had been agreed and adopted.

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