Bali, December 04, 2013

“Blaming India is the flavour of the week, but is that right”, said Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International and Member of the WTO’s High Level Panel on the Future of Trade here today on the second day of the 9th WTO Ministerial, while speaking to the press here today.

“India is being made a scapegoat, like it happened in July 2008 when the Doha Talks fell apart. It was the discomfort of the US to deal with their cotton subsidies which had been affecting four poor countries of West Africa. Today, the USA has lost appetite for the multilateral trading system by negotiating two mega preferential trade agreements (TPP and TTIP), which would align all their trading partners to their own standards”, said Mehta.

The issue of food subsidies is sensitive for the developing world’s poor farmers, and hence the G-33 proposal was to protect them by seeking a carve-out in the WTO farm agreement. The proposal was spearheaded by Indonesia and India, but the carve-out (peace clause for four years) sought was more to get an insurance against their producer subsidies, which could likely breach the allowable limits of 10 per cent.

The paradox is that the farm accord as wrought in the Uruguay Round Agreements (URA) has enforceable special and differential treatment (peace clause, forever) for the rich countries which will not allow others to challenge their own dirty subsidies.. These amount to nearly two dollars a day for every cow in the rich world, while nearly three billion poor in the developing world are not even getting enough to survive.

The Doha Development Round itself was designed to inter alia getting rid of the farm subsidies in the west, which has created havoc in many developing countries. That’s the main cause of the failure of the Doha Round, and why the poor countries continue to seek the elusive ‘development’ outcomes by correcting the bad URA outcomes.

The Bali Ministerial hopes to salvage the Doha Round to some extent through the three deals on food security, trade facilitation and poor countries development concerns. The next three days are crucial. If there is no deal in Bali, it would become another nail in the uncapped coffin of the Doha Round.

For more information, please contact:
Pradeep S Mehta,, +62-82144352083