India backed out from giving its consent to Trade Facilitation Agreement in what would have been a historic trade deal at World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva last week.
Simplifying worldwide customs rules to facilitate global trade is at the core of this newly proposed trade agreement which had been mutually agreed on a ‘peace clause’ in last year’s WTO meeting and was widely expected to be a ‘done deal’ this year.
India, however, did not agree on the deal, citing WTO’s inability to respond positively to the country’s call for stockpiling food.
In an interview with NDTV on Monday, Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance Minister, justified the government’s decision saying, “The fact of the matter is there have been many instances in history where India has been forced to raise its voice against the powerful nations.”
“Our farmers will be reduced to starvation and suicide. We can't be a party to that. If we did not have the (measures) this few hundred suicides that you hear of would be in lakhs (hundreds of thousands).”
John Kerry, the US secretary of State, has been critical of India’s decision over the issue and put a question mark on India’s approach to free economy.
For a deal to be struck, WTO needs an agreement among its 160 members. This new trade agreement would reportedly contribute $1 trillion to the global economy, creating 21 million jobs in the process worldwide.