Discuss India’s transformation from GATT to WTO. What is India’s contribution to WTO concerning agriculture

India’s transformation from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to the World Trade Organization (WTO) marked a significant shift in the global trade landscape.

Here’s an overview of this transition and India’s contributions to the WTO, particularly in the context of agriculture:

GATT to WTO Transition:


  • The GATT was established in 1947 with the primary goal of reducing trade barriers and promoting international trade. India was a founding member of GATT.
  • During the GATT era, India faced challenges in terms of trade imbalances, protectionist policies, and a lack of access to global markets for its exports.

WTO Establishment:

  • The WTO was established in 1995 as a successor to GATT, with a broader mandate covering not only goods but also services and intellectual property.
  • The WTO aimed to create a more comprehensive and rules-based international trading system.

India’s Contribution to WTO (Agriculture):

1. Doha Development Agenda:

  • India played a crucial role in the launch of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in 2001.
  • The DDA focused on addressing issues of concern to developing countries, including agriculture.

2. Agriculture Negotiations:

  • Agriculture has been a key focus of WTO negotiations, and India has been actively involved in discussions.
  • India has advocated for the reduction of trade-distorting subsidies, especially by developed countries, to create a level playing field for developing nations.

3. Public Stockholding for Food Security:

  • India has been a vocal advocate for the right of developing countries to maintain public stockholding programs for food security without facing challenges under WTO rules.
  • The Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013 saw an agreement that provided a temporary reprieve for developing countries like India in implementing food security programs.

4. Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM):

  • India has pushed for the creation of a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) to protect the interests of farmers in developing countries by allowing temporary increases in tariffs to respond to import surges or price depressions.

5. Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA):

  • India has been supportive of measures to facilitate trade, and it played a role in the conclusion of the Trade Facilitation Agreement during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013.

6. Nairobi Ministerial Conference (2015):

  • India actively engaged in the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in 2015, emphasizing the need to address the concerns of developing countries and ensure that the development dimension of trade is not sidelined.

7. Current Challenges:

  • India continues to face challenges in protecting the interests of its farmers, especially in the face of demands for further liberalization of the agricultural sector.


India’s journey from GATT to WTO reflects its commitment to participating in and shaping the global trade architecture. In the WTO, India has consistently advocated for the interests of developing countries, particularly in the realm of agriculture. The negotiations and agreements, including those related to food security, subsidies, and safeguards, underscore India’s contributions to ensuring that global trade rules are fair, equitable, and supportive of the development objectives of nations.

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