G-33 Urges WTO Members for Swift Action on Food Security Ahead

G-33 countries, including India, press for consensus on public stockholding at the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference

February 27, 2024

A total of 47 developing and least developed nations will focus on the need for a permanent solution (Proposal JOB/AG/229) on food security

G-33 has expressed deep worry over increasing hunger, especially in Africa, urging prompt action on food security challenges

G-33 has highlighted the importance of rebuilding trust among WTO members for the organisation's credibility

G-33 has underscored the significance of the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) against import surges or price declines, calling for its adoption at the 14th WTO Ministerial Conference

In anticipation of the 13th ministerial conference of the WTO commencing in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the G-33 group, comprising countries such as India, has called upon its members to reach a consensus on the issue of public stockholding for food security. During a meeting held in the United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of the four-day Ministerial Conference (MC), ministers and representatives of the G-33 countries urged all WTO members to actively participate in achieving a meaningful resolution on agricultural matters.

The G-33, which includes 47 developing and least developed countries (LDCs) and Net Food Importing Developing Countries (NFIDCs), issued a joint statement on February 25 after a meeting coordinated by Indonesia. The statement focused on the significance of Proposal JOB/AG/229 and urged all members to make concerted efforts to agree on a permanent solution. The G-33 members invited other WTO nations to engage constructively with the proposal as a foundation for achieving a favourable outcome on public stockholding for food security purposes during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference.

In a press release by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, it was highlighted that the meeting aimed to address critical global trade and food security issues on the sidelines of the 13th MC conference of the WTO.

Recognising the collective responsibility of all WTO members in addressing contemporary challenges facing the multilateral trading system, the G-33 stressed the necessity for a rules-based, non-discriminatory, and transparent trading environment. They commended the United Arab Emirates for hosting the conference and urged all WTO members to engage constructively for a meaningful outcome on agriculture.

Expressing deep concern over the projected increase in hunger and undernourishment, especially in Africa, the G-33 emphasised the urgency of tackling food security challenges. They lamented the lack of progress in agriculture trade negotiations and underscored the importance of restoring trust between members to maintain the credibility of the WTO.

Additionally, the G-33 reiterated the importance of the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as a crucial instrument against import surges or price declines. They called for adopting a decision on SSM by the 14th WTO Ministerial Conference and expressed readiness to engage in technical discussions on the issue.

The G-33 affirmed their commitment to advancing agriculture trade negotiations in good faith, focusing on correcting imbalances in the Agreement on Agriculture and addressing the food security challenges of developing country members. They highlighted the preservation of Special and Differential Treatment for developing countries in WTO agreements. According to the press release, they stressed the importance of considering non-trade concerns in agriculture trade negotiations.

The statement issued by G-33 Ministers underscores their collective determination to prioritise food security and equitable trade practices globally. The G-33, also known as the Friends of Special Products in Agriculture, was established before the 2003 Cancun ministerial summit to collaborate during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, particularly in the agricultural sector.

Source: Economic Times

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