Publication year: 2008

Publication type: Working paper

Citation: Bhojani U. WTO & USA: a political mix challenging the health concerns of Indian farmers. eSocial Sciences, 2008

Available full text at eSocialSciences

Abstract: The World Trade Organization being an international regulatory body remains a key organization that can exert a huge influence on international agricultural trade as well as on national trade policies by member countries including India. Also the United States being the chief exporter of many agricultural produce that are in demand by India, can exert influence on India’s national policies around agricultural trade. WTO’s agreement on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures offers member countries the right to set their own standards for safeguarding health and plant life. But at the same time it restricts member countries’ right to use precautionary principals. Using this alley in SPS agreement, the United States exerted a heavy political influence on Indian policies around quarantine norms for wheat import. Furthermore, WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture intended to create free trade across countries in agriculture, has actually created an unequal global platform creating devastating impacts on livelihood and consequently health and wellbeing of Indian farmers. Suggested Indo-US bilateral trade agreement can worsen the negative impacts of trade liberalization. More importantly Indian farmers are being neglected from the policy development process related to WTO’s agreements and proposed Indo-US trade agreement. This scenario indicates an imminent need to reconsider the value for health in trade policies and calls for the involvement of farmers in national and international policymaking.

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