Commerce Ministry dismisses PM media advisor views on agri subsidy

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (UNI) Commerce ministry today dismissed as "personal views" of Prime Minister's media advisor Sanjaya Baru in which he reportedly said India's position in World Trade Organisation (WTO) on farm subsidies by the United States might change in view of the rising food and commodity prices.

The ministry, in a statement, said "the statement ascribed to Dr Baru reflect his personal views. The stand of the government on effective and substantial cuts in overall trade distorting domestic Support (OTDS) in agriculture remains unchanged".

Speaking at a convention in the capital on April 19, Baru said, "The rising food and commodity prices will have serious implications on our strategy of food import. India's position in World Trade Organisation (WTO) on farm subsidies by the US might change. We may not be able to make the same argument against the US subsidies." In the Doha round of negotiations on agriculture and industrial tariff, India is among the leading nations opposed to the farm subsidies given by the US government for domestic production. For a long time, India has registered its protests with the WTO against these subsidies.

In a convention organised by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Baru said, "In future, if we are turning more and more towards imports of food, then US subsidies will eventually help us." Sticking to India's long-standing stand on agriculture at WTO, the Commerce ministry, said Baru's statement "pertaining to the WTO negotiations on domestic subsidies in agriculture.......reflect his personal views. The stand of the Government on effective and substantial cuts in Overall Trade Distorting Domestic Support (OTDS) in agriculture remains unchanged".

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