12th National Convention, Jodhpur (Raj.) — Resolution 4 (E)

Pull Agriculture, Investment and IPR out of WTO

The manner in which developed countries dismissed the interests of developing nations, in the just concluded ministerial level meeting of WTO held in Nairobi (Kenya), by not reaffirming the Doha Development Agenda in WTO, has made it explicitly clear that developed countries are not ready to heed to the genuine concerns of developing countries by reducing huge agriculture subsidies, which they provide to distort prices. Their dilly dally approach to correct the faulty and twisting formula of calculating subsidy provided by developing countries to ensure food security and their effort to link genuinely needed Special Safeguard Measures (SSM) to market access for their products, has made it clear that though, previous agreements reached at WTO have been harming the interests of developing countries, particularly Bharat; developed countries are not ready to address legitimate issues impacting their development.

As a result of flooding of our markets by the subsidised imported agricultural products Bhartiya farmers are not getting remunerative prices for their produce and agriculture has become a loss making activity. We have to struggle to ensure food security of poor Indian population. Union commerce Minister also has expressed her disappointment on the failure of forward movement of Doha Development Round.

This is an open fact that at the time of formation of WTO, developed countries forced Marrakesh agreement on developing countries against their wishes and interests. By inserting agriculture, investment, patents and services into the agreements- a discriminatory mechanism was created that favoured rich countries and was against poor developing countries. In the name of ‘TRIPS’ developing countries like India, were intimidated to change their patent laws to facilitate MNCs from developed countries, earn enormous royalty. That time, though it was conceded that essential medicines may get costlier, it was argued that farmers would get benefitted as they may export their produce to developed countries. But taking a U-turn developed rich countries, instead of reducing agricultural subsidies, increased them manifold, in the garb of green box. Double standard of developed nations is explicitly seen, as they themselves did not reduce their subsidies, instead they raised objection against India for procuring food grains directly from farmers, stating that India’s subsidies exceed the limit (based on faulty and twisted formula).

Medicines manufactured by MNCs have become very costly after Marrakesh ‘TRIPS’ agreement. However, rich developed countries, in particular the USA has been pressurising Indian government to concede the flexibility available under that agreement like, preventing wrongful re-patenting by corporate, possibility of compulsory licensing, provision for pre-grant objections and compulsory sharing of clinical trial data. This effort to put an end to this flexibility available to India and other developing countries is being attempted through the joint working group and ‘Think Tank’ constituted during the visit of Prime Minister to USA.

It is crystal clear that Marrakesh agreement has not only ruined our agriculture and farmers but has also been threatening food security of nation. In addition to endangering public health, due to costly medicines, production capability of our pharmaceutical companies providing cheap medicines to over 200 nations, playing a crucial role in health care of not only the developing countries but also the poorer sections of society in rich developed countries, has also been facing disruption.

National Conference of SJM is of the considered opinion that under these circumstances government must comprehensively review these issues on the basis of experiences of last twenty years and informed debate about the impact of unequal and exploitative Marrakesh agreement. Serious efforts must be put in to take out Agriculture, Investment and IPR (particularly patents) from WTO to save farming sector, public health and industry. No new issues are accepted under pressure or manipulation by developed countries. The need of the hour is that, India takes initiative and leads the developing world to overhaul WTO.

National convention of SJM would like to remind the government that decisions at WTO are taken by consensus and emphasises that instead of expressing disappointments in media, government should cling to its principled stand during the negotiations.