ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has fended off attempts of amendments in the Agreement on Agriculture at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ministerial meeting, demanding elimination of export and production subsidies on all agricultural products by developed and large developing countries.
The AOA is an internationally recognised treaty of the WTO. However, it has been widely criticised for reducing tariff protections. for small farmers, a key source of income in developing countries, while allowing rich countries to continue subsidising their agricultural sectors.
However, Pakistan demanded elimination of subsidies on all products particularly cotton, wheat and sugar by developed and large developing countries, said a statement quoting federal minister for commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan.
“Cotton is the economic lifeline of Pakistan,” read the statement. “Once subsidies are removed, the entire increase in value of cotton would be reflected in both the textile and clothing sectors.”
Pakistan has also offered to provide capacity building and training to African
countries growing cotton as a gesture of goodwill, it added.
Pakistan maintained that the public stockholding proposal in its current form has already had serious and adverse unintended consequences for its economy, it said, adding future negotiations on the subject must be grounded in verifiable data and evidence, and ensure that public stockholding does not transgress into trade-distorting export subsidies that hurt farmers in other countries.
News source: The Express Tribune