Two top officials of the Trump administration have sought greater market access and transparency in India’s farm sector, after the US complained to the World Trade Organisation on India’s Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime on wheat and rice.
“India represents a massive market, and we want greater access for US products, but India must be transparent about their practices. For trade to be free and fair, all parties must abide by their WTO commitments,” US secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
On May 4, the US approached the Committee of Agriculture of the WTO, alleging that India has been under reporting its MSP on wheat and rice to the multilateral body.
All WTO members need to notify agricultural subsidies and price support to the Geneva-based global trade monitoring body.
This is the first time that the US has approached the WTO on the issue of domestic farm price support offered by its one of its trade partners.
“The United States expects our trading partners to comply with the reporting requirements they agreed to when joining the WTO,” said United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer.
The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is a body that directly reports to the US president on key trade issues.
“Accurate reporting and improved transparency of these programs is an important step in ensuring that our trading partners are living up to their WTO commitments and helps achieve more market-based outcomes through the multilateral trading system,” he added.
Issues raised by the US in its WTO submission on India’s MSP regime include quantity of production used in market price support calculations and exclusion of state-level bonuses from calculations of applied administered prices.
The US has also alleged that India does not report the total value of production of wheat and rice in its WTO submissions.
Agricultural subsidies have been a contentious issue between the US and India at the WTO.
India has led a developing country offensive against US farm subsidies, which is one of the key issues in the Doha Round of world trade talks.
First Published: IST