G-33 ministers call for meaningful outcome on agri negotiations at WTO conference in Abu Dhabi

New Delhi: Ahead of the 13th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) beginning Monday in Abu Dhabi, the G-33 group of countries, which includes India, has urged members to achieve an outcome on public stockholding for food security purposes.

Ministers and Representatives of the G-33 members who met yesterday in United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of the four-day Ministerial Conference (MC) called on all WTO Members to engage constructively to achieve a meaningful outcome on agriculture.

The G-33 group, which includes 47 developing and least developed countries (LDCs) and Net Food Importing Developing Countries (NFIDCs), issued a joint statement on February 25, after the meeting coordinated by Indonesia.

“The G-33 co-sponsoring Members of the Proposal JOB/AG/229, therefore, urge all Members to make all concerted efforts to agree and adopt a permanent solution on the issue. The G-33 co-sponsoring Members reiterate the importance of the Proposal JOB/AG/229 submitted with the African Group and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group, and invite other Members to engage constructively with the elements contained therein, as a basis to achieve outcome on public stockholding for food security purposes in the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference,” it said.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the meeting, held on the sidelines of the 13th MC conference of the WTO, aimed to address critical issues affecting global trade and food security.

Acknowledging the collective responsibility of all WTO Members to tackle contemporary challenges facing the multilateral trading system, the G-33 emphasized the need for a rules-based, non-discriminatory, and transparent trading environment.

They commended the United Arab Emirates for hosting the conference and urged all WTO Members to engage constructively to achieve a meaningful outcome on agriculture.

Expressing deep concern over the projected increase in hunger and undernourishment, particularly in Africa, the G-33 underscored the urgency of addressing food security challenges.

They lamented the lack of progress in agriculture trade negotiations and stressed the importance of restoring trust between Members to preserve the credibility of the WTO.

Furthermore, the G-33 reiterated the importance of the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as a crucial instrument against import surges or price declines.

They called for the adoption of a decision on SSM by the 14th WTO Ministerial Conference and expressed readiness to engage in technical discussions on the issue, read the press release.

The G-33 affirmed their commitment to advancing agriculture trade negotiations in good faith, with a focus on correcting imbalances in the Agreement on Agriculture and addressing the food security challenges of developing country members.

They emphasized the preservation of Special and Differential Treatment for developing countries in WTO agreements and stressed the importance of considering non-trade concerns in agriculture trade negotiations, read the press release.

The statement issued by G-33 Ministers underscores their collective determination to prioritize food security and equitable trade practices in the global arena.

The G33 (or Friends of Special Products in Agriculture) is a coalition of developing countries formed ahead to the 2003 Cancun ministerial summit to cooperate during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, particularly in agriculture.

(With inputs from ANI)




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