NDA stand on WTO agreement `exercise to confuse people`: Congress

NDA govt`s statement in Parliament that India has decided not to ratify WTO`s Trade Facilitation Agreement was a "laborious exercise to confuse people", Congress on Tuesday said.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 06, 2014, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi: The NDA government`s statement in Parliament that India has decided not to ratify WTO`s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was a "laborious exercise to confuse people", Congress on Tuesday said while lamenting that New Delhi`s "isolation was painful" at the global body`s meet in Geneva.

"Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman`s statement conceals more and reveals less. If you carefully go through the statement, it is a laborious exercise to confuse people," party spokesman and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here.

"My worry is that the goodwill we have earned has been squandered" in Geneva, Sharma added.
On the issue of food security, which the NDA government has cited to oppose the TFA, Sharma said, "Food security has never been a part of the WTO agenda.
"Food security, we made it clear in Bali, is the sovereign space which has never been ceded and shall never be ceded. There was no food security battle."

He said that India had in Bali protected the centrality of the WTO but, "today that centrality has been threatened because there are bypassed movements called pluri-laterals".

"Those big countries that stood by India in Bali and prevented any isolation of India, from Egypt to Nigeria to Brazil, Ethiopia and other big countries... It is a long list.
"All these countries broke ranks with India in Geneva. India was left in the company of three countries. India`s isolation was painful," he averred.

Union Minister Sitharaman told Lok Sabha, "Food security is a humanitarian concern, especially in these times of uncertainty and volatility, and the issue of food security is critical to a vast swathe of humanity and cannot be sacrificed to mercantilist considerations."