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Abstract

India has submitted notifications to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on domestic support to agricultural producers in 1995-2003. This paper reviews India’s notifications and summarizes the related discussion in the WTO Committee on Agriculture of some key issues relating to the rules of the Agreement on Agriculture on domestic support. It calculates price gaps for rice, wheat, cotton and sugarcane in 1995 to 2013 under four scenarios regarding the external reference price and calculates the resulting market price support using total production and procurement quantities. It compares the associated Aggregate Measurements of Support (AMSs) to their limits based on value of production. The AMSs show large excesses above their limits over many years until 2013 for several crops under some readings of the Agreement but much less so if certain adjustments are made. This highlights the differences among alternative interpretations of the Agreement in determining compliance with a country’s obligations, in particular the understanding of the fixed external reference price and the production eligible to receive the applied administered price. The paper puts India’s administered pricing in the context of the 2013 decision of WTO ministers regarding protection under some conditions against challenge under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

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