WTO Meet: India to push for permanent solution to public stock holding of grains.

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: economy

Topic: Trade and External Sector

Issue: WTO-Public stockholding

Context: India’s agenda for upcoming WTO’s MC 13 – a permanent solution to public stock holding of grains for food security.

Public stock-holding (PSH) programme

  • Under this the government procures crops like rice and wheat from farmers at Minimum Support Price, and stores and distributes food grains to the poor.

Criticism: Developed nations argue that such programmes distort global trade prices of food grains.

WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA):

1.      Total Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) is the total amount of subsidies a country provides to its agricultural sector in a given year.

2.     De-minimis level refers to a threshold level of support below which countries are not required to report or reduce. It is

a.     5% of the value of agricultural production for developed countries and

b.     10% for developing countries.

Bali Conference (2013) :  A ‘peace clause’ was signed as an interim measure which stated that no country would be legally barred from food security programmes even if the subsidy breached the limits (10%).

The peace clause is continues until a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding and agricultural subsidies is arrived at.

World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference(WTO MC)

It is the organisation’s topmost decision-making body. It typically meets every two years and brings together ministers from all WTO member countries.


●     Review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and take action on its future work.

●     Make decisions on all matters under any of the WTO agreements.

●     Issue ministerial declarations and decisions to guide the work of the WTO.

Recent Conferences:

●     MC12: Geneva (Geneva Package)

○     Landmark agreements on fisheries subsidies and WTO’s response to emergencies.

○     Package also included decisions on agriculture, e-commerce moratorium, and transparency in government procurement.

●     MC 13 is scheduled in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.



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