New Delhi, Aug. 18: Commerce minister Arun Jaitley indicated today that India would be taking a tough stand on agricultural issues at the WTO negotiations in Cancun.
The minister said, “Agricultural negotiations have serious economic, social and political ramifications which would weigh the most on our minds.”
“Around 650 million people in the country are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and are adversely affected by the high level of subsidies in developed countries..... Therefore, there must be a gradual reduction and eventual elimination of such subsidies as our farmers cannot compete with the heavily subsidised products of the developed world,” he said.
The minister said the reform of the European Union common agricultural policy was inadequate since it was constrained by the domestic politics of the constituent states.
Jaitley said it was easier for the developed nations to market reforms since they had enjoyed the fruits of development and underlined the urgent need for an objective public discourse on the implications of trade liberalisation and globalisation.
He also said agriculture negotiations in WTO were constrained by domestic politics in the US in presidential elections next year. Agriculture negotiations had serious political and social ramifications in India, Jaitley told a national symposium on Cancun agenda.