A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Statement by India at conclusion of WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires

Indian government, Press release, December 12, 2017

The 11th ministerial conference at the WTO took place in Buenos Aires, in a climate of tensions, the USA contesting more and more openly the multilateralism principle. India, figurehead of developing countries to have the legitimacy of food security policies based on public stockholding recognized, has published a press release that we copied here after, denouncing without naming the Trump government in its strategy to make an already clinically dead cycle fail.

In its press release, India explains that there in fact will have been no discussion on the main subjects on the table even though 2 years ago in Nairobi several discussions on stockholding were suspended until this meeting. The USA’s will of obstruction also manifested through the renewal of experts mobilized by the dispute settlement body.

They had sent, as IRIS underlined , Robert Lighthizer to the table of negotiations. This former member of the department of commerce under Reagan already expressed his views in 2008 “President Reagan's pragmatism contrasted strongly with the utopian dreams of free traders” saying that Reagan “always understood that trade policy was merely a tool for building a strong and independent country with a prosperous middle class”.

The attitude of Americans regarding multilateralism must not be the tree that hides the forest of the WTO mistakes on agricultural and food matters, and that explain the stalemate of the negotiation cycle long before Trump was elected. Convinced by the prerequisite that agricultural markets stabilize themselves, the ones that conceived the agricultural rules at the WTO missed the most important point: the necessary cooperation between the main producing countries and the coordination of their agricultural policies wasn’t thought through. To them, it was enough to undermine or even suppress national agricultural policies in order to, by enchantment, stabilize international agricultural prices at their equilibrium level. The 2007/08 food crisis has since then come to bring most countries back to reason who have reinvested in their agriculture and their agricultural policies. Therefore, the current situation should serve has a start to think the basis of a new agricultural multilateralism that can fully take into account the 21st century stakes. India and its partners are in this logic, and we cannot say as much for the EU who, for now, seems to have with Trump a good excuse to not question the 1990s agricultural globalization concept that she is the only one to hold.

Frédéric Courleux

India has been participating in Ministerial Conference (MC)11 in good faith and in a spirit of constructive engagement. We have tried our best to engage with members in all formats. We have been proponents in several areas of work in the World Trade Organization (WTO), including public stockholding for food security purposes, agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism, agricultural domestic support and E-commerce. We are committed to preserving and promoting the WTO and the multilateral trading system with a view to take the agreed agenda of the WTO forward.

Leading up to the Ministerial and at the Ministerial itself, India’s coalition partners have remained steadfast in their support not only for a permanent solution on public stockholding but also on other issues of interest to developing countries. India was supported by over a 100 WTO member countries on all agriculture issues including our proposal to set the direction of agriculture reforms by first eliminating the most trade-distorting form of subsidies used mainly by the rich developed countries. The 53-member African Group as well as a large number of developing countries have rallied around and firmly supported us in opposing rules on E-commerce and bringing in new issues such as Investment Facilitation and MSMEs into the WTO’s agenda.

Today in the agriculture negotiations in Buenos Aires, a major country stated categorically that they cannot agree to any permanent solution on the public stockholding issue at MC11. This has posed a severe threat to a successful conclusion of the Conference as there was a Ministerial mandate for a permanent solution by MC11. India is surprised and deeply disappointed that despite an overwhelming majority of Members reiterating it, a major member country has reneged on a commitment made two years ago to deliver a solution of critical importance for addressing hunger in some of the poorest countries of the world. This has the potential to irreversibly damage the credibility of the WTO as a Ministerial Decision of all countries present in Nairobi has not been honored.

India continues to participate in the efforts to draft a credible Ministerial Declaration. We are firm that any Ministerial Declaration must reaffirm the principles of the multilateral trading system, the completion of the Doha Development Agenda, the centrality of development and the availability of special and differential treatment and other concerns of developing countries.

1 http://commerce.gov.in/PressRelease.aspx?Id=6491
2 http://www.iris-france.org/104322-quel-avenir-pour-lomc-les-enjeux-de-la-conference-ministerielle-de-buenos-aires/

Page Header
Paris, 20 June 2019