"The biggest challenge (is that) we have to ensure that we culminate the process of finding a permanent solution and for that we will have to build new coalitions and new arguments," Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said here at a Ficci function.
    
Following hectic negotiations by India in the WTO meeting at Bali last year, it was agreed by the members of the Geneva-based multi-lateral body that developing countries, including India, will be allowed to protect food security programme to provide subsidized grains to the poor.
    
Also, it was agreed that the breach in subsidy limit of 10 percent will not be challenged by any member in the WTO till a permanent solution was put into place.
    
Kher, however, said that the country has "armoury and ammunitions" to protect the nation's interest with regard to ensuring food security for its citizens.
    
"We are confident that by working out good coalitions, appropriate legal drafting suggestions, we will be in a position to find a permanent solution. It is a long articulate process and one has clear time, therefore we need to work (hard)," he added.
    
India, he said would need to guard against the vested interest of the developed countries which may try to dilute the process.
    
"... it has become extremely important for us to drive the food security agenda because there is an every reason for the developed countries groupings to try and dilute the process and see that the food security proposal does not see an effective light of the day, which means that the search for a permanent solution goes on and on and we end up where we were," the secretary said.
    
He said that India's existing coalition partners on the matter have become ineffective and some of the traditional partners "have run away".
    
"We were in a situation where if we had not build a good coalition, we would have not been able to see the outcome as it came out," he added.
    
On the trade facilitation agreement (TFA), which was reached at Bali, he said that the pact would help India in enhancing its global trade.
    
"What TFA has given us is now a compulsion to commit ourselves to (customs) reforms and I think that is extremely important and the industry should be happy about it," he said.
    
He said that the agreement gives us an opportunity to reform rules, procedures and systems "which would position us in a far better manner to face the emerging trade scenario".
    
He said that going forward tariffs would not be the protection.

(Agencies)

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