The commerce ministry will soon despatch a team of officials to Geneva to speed up talks at WTO with an aim to find a permanent solution on food security. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said the team will make sure India’s proposal for trade facilitation agreement (TFA) in services gathers momentum. The issues figured in the discussions during a meeting between Sitharaman and WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo here today. “The team which will be going to Geneva will also see that TFA in services is taken at various stages so that it becomes part of the Argentina ministerial meeting,” she told reporters here.
The official team, she said, will ensure “we take up both the issues”.
She said India wants the procedure of finding a permanent solution on food security to be completed on time and that too before the ministerial level meet in Argentina in December.
During the meeting, Sitharaman pressed for regular meetings to discuss this important issue.
“This year, I want to see discussions happening in Geneva on this. We have already done enough groundwork on this. We can not start discussions from scratch,” she added.
The issue will come up for discussion at the WTO’s committee on agriculture in Geneva. The deadline to find a solution is December-end.
The minister also raised India’s concerns related to e-commerce, special safeguard mechanism, fisheries and investments.
India is making a case for TFA in services in line with a similar pact in goods signed by WTO in 2014. It aims at expediting movement, release and clearance of goods as well as co-operation on Customs compliance.
On e-commerce, she said the issue should not become part of the ministerial meeting unless there is a consensus.
On investment pact, she clearly said: “I do not want investment to be part of the multi-lateral system… we want it to be part of the bilateral scheme of things.”