Indian Farmers Oppose Peace Clause on G 33 Proposal in WTO and Call for Permanent Solution
|Farmers Letter to Indian Prime Minister on G 33 Proposal in WTO||67.74 KB|
PRESS RELEASE: 14 November 2013, New Delhi
Alarmed over mounting international pressure and the “take it or leave it” interim text on the peace clause solution on the G-33 proposal being considered for the 9th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC9), 3-6 December 2013, Indian Farmers has called on the Government of India to reject the current PC proposal and demanded a permanent solution to protect farmers’ livelihoods and access to food for all.
It has been learnt that following the rejection of all substantive elements of the proposal, a Peace Clause (PC) is the only element currently being discussed. This allows India and other countries to give such subsidy for the period mandated with the understanding that no WTO member will take this issue to dispute settlement. In last ditched effort the WTO Director General, Roberto Azevedo has suggested a final text on the peace/ due restraint clause loaded with conditionalities in a “take it or leave it” manner.
In this backdrop, in a letter (attached) to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on November 14, farmers groups have argued that the present proposal on the peace clause may disband India's remarkable ‘famine-avoidance’ strategy of providing farmers with an assured minimum support price, based on a grain procurement system that provides an assured market, which has facilitated in reaching food to the poor and stabilized market prices.
Ironically, according to a study, India will provide 60kg/person of foodgrains under the newly enacted Food Security Act while the US provides 385Kg/person for food aid under several programmes like the food coupons, child nutrition programmes etc. In 2010 US spent USD 94 billion for its food aid programmes, which in 2012 reached $ 100 billion. Against this, India’s food subsidy bill is expected to be around USD 20 billion. Even this is not acceptable to the US and the EU.
Farmers' organizations have argued that the current text suggested by the WTO Director General, provides only a four year PC which will elapse at the 11th Ministerial and is not linked to a permanent solution. Second, only a few crops can be supported under this provision. Third, a large number of conditionalities are being imposed on this PC which will make it unusable and meaningless. The Anti-Circumvention/ Safeguard clause suggests that the member state using this “shall ensure that stocks procured under such programs do not distort trade”. This leaves the provision totally porous, subject to interpretation which can be used to challenge the very operation of such stockholding programmes.
Farmers organizations have called on the government of India not to dilute its position on the G-33 proposal and accept a Peace Clause which makes a travesty of the poverty and hunger faced my millions of Indians every day. Accepting the Peace Clause therefore would be detrimental to India’s interests as it is aimed not only at destroying the country’s hard-earned food security but also the livelihood security of over 600 million farmers, 80 per cent of them being small and marginal farmers.
Farmers organizations demanded:
- India to stand up to the might of the US/EU, and reject any proposal that leads to dismantling of the famine-avoidance strategies; India cannot be forced to go back to the days of ‘ship-to-mouth’ existence.
- Pursue the G 33 proposal aggressively as the way forward and not accept the current proposal which effectively neutralises the Peace Clause with its farcical conditionalities.
- Challenge the developed countries’ domestic and export subsidies, especially the Green Box. Since 80 per cent of the agricultural subsidises go to the corporates, India must demand withdrawal of subsidy support that goes for corporations.
- India should not trade-off its food security concerns and the livelihood security of millions of farmers against the trade facilitation agreement. The latter is unfair, biased and forwards only a developed country agenda as it stands at the moment.
For Interview and more details please contact:
1. Devinder Sharma, Cell Phone: 09811301857, E Mail: hunger55 (at) gmail.com
2. Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Karnataka Rajya Ryotha Sangha (KRRS) , Karnataka. Cell Phone: 09845066156, E Mail: chukki.krrs(at)gmail.com
Vijay Jawandia, Shetkari Sangathana, Wardha, Cell Phone: 09811301857