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India Tells WTO To Stop Obstructing Its Food Exports

April 24, 2022 (EIRNS)—India Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman raised the necessity for the WTO to OK India’s intention to increase cereals exports needed in the world food crisis. She gave a press conference April 22 in Washington, D.C., with the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, at the end of the annual spring summit of the IMF/World Bank. Sitharaman said, “In some of the interactions that I’ve had, in one of the sessions (that) impacted the plenary itself, I had voiced that countries like India which have potential for exporting agricultural produce, particularly cereals, have faced difficulties with the WTO.” She explained, “Because of that, where the entire plenary was recognizing that there’s hunger and shortage of food grains all over the world, countries like India, which can probably supply, are facing difficulties with WTO.”

Her remarks were widely covered in the media of India, including the Economic Times of the India Times, and Indian Express news outlet. Sitharaman met with World Bank President David Malpass, and other top leaders in Washington. She told reporters that her impression was that WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be looking at India’s concerns favorably.

Sitharaman expressed optimism that her message was heard, saying in reply to a question: “I was very positively inspired by the fact that in the plenary...response from the WTO was very positive. I hope we’ll break that decade-long restriction which has held us back from using our agricultural products after taking care of the buffer we need for food security purposes. So that the farmers also can get a better return.” She said of the need for food in the world: “where there is hunger, there are grains to go and nothing should stop them from going there.”

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