Agriculture deal : ‘Pakistan demands elimination of production, export subsidies’
ISLAMABAD: Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Friday said that Pakistan has successfully nullified efforts to make amendments in the agreement on agriculture in World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, which would benefit a few on the cost of the others.
According to a press release issued on Friday, Pakistan has demanded elimination of production and export subsidies on all agricultural products particularly cotton, wheat and sugar by developed and large developing countries, he said.
The minister said that cotton is the life line of Pakistan’s economy, once subsidies are removed, the entire increase in value of cotton would be reflected in both textile and clothing sector.
Further, he said that Pakistan has also offered to provide capacity building and training to the African Cotton growing countries as a gesture of goodwill. Pakistan maintained that the public stockholding proposal in its current form has already had serious and adverse unintended consequences for its economy. 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, he added.
Khurram Dastgir said that Pakistan would support a robust post-Nairobi work programme keeping in view all perspectives of food security on the table.
The commerce minister welcomed Afghanistan’s joining of WTO with a hope that it would further cement relations between the two countries. Growth in Afghanistan’s economy is likely to benefit Pakistan’s exports since Afghanistan is amongst the largest export destinations of Pakistani products, he added.
Dastgir emphasised that as the first country in the region to ratify the trade facilitation agreement, an ever-more stable, peaceful, democratic and growing Pakistan is poised to be the economic and trade hub of Central Asia and South Asia.
He said it would open new doors to the rest of the world, adding that Pakistan reaffirmed the need for enhancing trade opportunities coupled with removing capacity constraints faced by developing countries and less developed countries so as to facilitate their smooth blending into the global value chains.