After months of uncertainty, the Trade Facilitation Agreement between 160 nations has been finally inked, with India on board. The World Trade Organisation has managed to get the support it required for the agreement.
The WTO has given nod to the protocol of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which means the norms of the agreement have been approved by the WTO. As far as India is concerned, Indian cabinet will have to ratify the agreement separately and once two/third of the WTO members ratify the agreement, it will be enforced globally.
On to the contentious issue of public stockholding for food security purposes – on this the Bali trade agreement has been modified. Now, in explicit terms it has been mentioned that for developing countries, public food procurement programmes for food security will not be challenged. But India and other developing countries will have to report their procurement to the WTO.
The modified Bali trade agreement also mentions about a deadline – December 31, 2015 – by which a permanent solution to the food procurement issue will be found on a best endeavour basis.
Third, a special mechanism will be set up to find a permanent solution to the food procurement issue.