Recent Statements Recent Statements


General Council Meeting

December 16-18, 2020


Statement by India – Delivered by Ambassador & PR to the WTO


Thank you Chair.

First of all,

  1. We congratulate World Food Programme on getting their services recognized in the form of Nobel Peace Price.
  2. We thank all the co-sponsors of the proposal in document WT/GC/W/810/Rev.3 and the communication in document WT/GC/W/811.
  3. We also immensely thank the effort made by other Members during this week to arrive at consensus text incorporating food security aspect of supplying Member, which unfortunately has not found acceptance from the main proponents.
  4. Chair, India’s unwavering commitment to the cause of global food security, is a clear testament to which side of history we are on when it comes to championing the cause of food security. And the WFP acknowledges this.  We do not need any certificate regarding our commitment to this noble cause.
  5. Furthermore, when we speak about being on the right side of history with respect to access to medicines and the TRIPS Waiver proposal, the closest example that we can think of on a similar scale for food security and eliminating hunger was the Bali Interim Solution on Public Stockholding for food security purposes. That was a landmark and history-making milestone in the history of WTO’s negotiations with respect to food security. We hope that the main co-sponsors of the current draft Decision, with their avowed commitment to reaching SDG2 and ‘Zero Hunger’, are as committed to delivering on the clear Ministerial mandate to make the Bali Interim solution on PSH into an effective and permanent solution by MC12. That would be a defining test on how history judges the WTO when it comes to delivering on food security.
  6. India has always been proactive in extending food aid to the WFP and vulnerable countries in our immediate and extended neighbourhood in the last five decades. The WFP has acknowledged this in their latest letter dated December 4 2020.  In 2019 alone, the WFP had sourced approximately 11,000 metric tons of pulses, sorghum, wheat, and rice from India to assist vulnerable populations.
  1. Further, India has always been at the fore-front of offering non-commercial, humanitarian food assistance bilaterally to the vulnerable populations of its neighbouring countries with in-kind food donations. In 2019, India sent almost two million tons of wheat as bilateral assistance to Afghanistan.
  1. Over the last five decades, our consistent actions underline our commitment to the cause of food-security and the work of the WFP. This proposal gives a feeling that are we trying to manufacture a problem to show some solution by WTO on this sensitive issue ignoring the overall aspect of food security for all.  Having said that, we might be wrong in our understanding, and therefore, we had a few questions for which we still have not received substantial replies; we had asked
  1. Is the World Food Programme currently facing any shortages or impediments in their food procurement on account of export restrictions?

Our deduction from various reports and the presentations made by FAO and WFP shows that WFP has not faced any problems in the last ten years.


  1. We asked did India ever deny food aid to WFP or provide us with details of the countries that have denied food aid to the WFP, citing export restrictions as a reason.

We were clarified that India has never denied food aid to WFP but we are yet to get a response on the action of other members, if any. For us concrete response to these questionsare essential for understanding the draft decision's objective and rationale.

  1. We acknowledge the immense effort put in by the proponents and others to stabilise the text. We are disappointed that need for recognising exporting countries' food security responsibility towards its citizens has not found place in the proposal.
  1. In view of the above, we needclarification and we have sought the same from the proponents and are awaiting a response.
  1. Since the objective of this draft decision is to make food-aid available to the most vulnerable people in times of a crisis, will this Decision also encompass the provision of exports to the WFP from the PSH stocks of a supplying Member? This can happen either in the scenario where the WFP is willing to tap the PSH stocks of a supplying Member, or, when the supplying Member can part with some of their PSH stock for humanitarian procurement by the WFP without jeopardizing their own domestic food security. After all, food security is the final objective, and it should not matter which stock it is coming out of as long as the exports are for a non-commercial, humanitarian purpose.
  1. Given the food security objective of the draft Decision, we would like to understand if this Decision of not imposing export restrictionincludes bilateral, non-commercial, humanitarian food assistance provided by a supplying country from its PSH Stocks to needy countries/ regions out of its PSH stocks?


India poses these questions from a well-established position, with its long-standing record in the international food aid and supplies to the UN agencies - which have been consistent, immaculate, and far more in magnitude than some of the proponents of this draft declaration.


  1. To conclude, India’s strong view is that a meaningful and balanced outcome on food security as part of the draft Decision must include the following two essential elements:
  1. Necessary safeguards that provide comfort to supplying Members

that their own food security will not be jeopardized as a result of the Decision; and

  1. Widening the scope of food aid in the Decision to include bilateral

food aid for humanitarian purposes from PSH stocks, along with food aid channelled through the WFP from PSH stocks of supplying Members.

  1. India looks forward to receiving clarifications and comments to our questions and suggestions from the co-sponsors and we are committed to continue engaging constructively with all Members on this important matter.

Thank you, Chair.