What is G-33?

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Overview:

Ahead of the 13th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a majority of the G-33 countries have called for a permanent solution to public stockholding for food security.

About G-33

  • The G33 (or the Friends of Special Products in agriculture) is a coalition of developing and least developed countries.
  • Despite the name, there are currently 47 member nations. Some of the main countries include India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Philippines, Turkey, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Korea.
  • It was established prior to the 2003 Cancun ministerial conference that have coordinated during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, specifically in regard to agriculture.
  • Dominated by India, the group has "defensive" concerns regarding agriculture in relation to WTO negotiations, and seeks to limit the degree of market opening required of developing countries. 
  • The group has advocated the creation of a "special products" exemption, which would allow developing countries to exempt certain products from tariff exemptions, and also a "special safeguard mechanism" which would permit tariff increases in response to import surges.

Key Facts about World Trade Organization (WTO)

  • Created in 1995, it is an international institution that oversees the rules for global trade among nations.
  • It superseded the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), created in the wake of World War II.
  • It is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.
  • The primary purpose of the WTO is to open trade for the benefit of all.
  • The WTO has many roles: it operates a global system of trade rules, it acts as a forum for negotiating trade agreements, it settles trade disputes between its members and it supports the needs of developing countries.
  • Structure:
    • The WTO’s top-level decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. 
    • Below this is the General Council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation in Geneva, and sometimes officials sent from members’ capitals), which meets several times a year in the Geneva headquarters. 
    • The General Council also meets as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body.
  • At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. 

Q1) What is the special safeguard mechanism under WTO?

WTO’s Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) is a protection measure allowed for developing countries to take contingency restrictions against agricultural imports that are causing injuries to domestic farmers. The contingency measure is imposition of tariff if the import surge causes welfare loss to the domestic poor farmers. The design and use of the SSM is an area of conflict under the WTO.

Source: G-33 countries call for permanent public stockholding solution for food security