Developing countries urge WTO agreement on food security

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Developing countries in the G-33 (Group of 33) have urged World Trade Organization (WTO) members to reach an agreement on food security proposals submitted earlier.

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“In this meeting, there is deep disappointment among the members of the G-33 that the deadline to limit export subsidies by 2013 has passed. That means an agreement can no longer be reached in Bali,” Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan noted here on Monday.

After the WTOs negotiations in Bali, the G-33 members stressed that it was important to maintain the momentum of the ninth ministerial meeting, which saw progress in several difficult and sensitive areas.

“These proposals are important, given the increasing volatility in global food prices,” Gita added.

The role of the WTO is to ensure that the multilateral trading system functions in a manner that is fair to every nation, thereby promoting global economic certainty.

“The G-33 agreed to reforms in agriculture, and the Doha Development Agenda talks included reducing trade barriers to improve the productivity and competitiveness of millions of farmers in developing countries,” he noted.

In the pursuit of agricultural sector reforms, the meeting also stressed the need for agreement on the Special Products and Special Safeguards Mechanism to ensure that developing countries are adequately protected.

“We want to further the negotiations initiated by the Doha round by balancing the interests of all member countries in the agriculture sector. We would like to see these negotiations proceed towards becoming WTO regulations,” added Gita Wirjawan.

The G33 is a group of developing countries that coordinates on trade and economic issues. It includes Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Bolivia, China, Cote dIvoire, Congo, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, South Korea, Madagascar and Mauritius.

In addition, the group includes Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe. PNA

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