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13th EU-India Summit: Focusing on strategic partnership

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Image source: dailyamin.com

Brussels, EU: The 13th EU-India Summit, a one-day event, is happening again. A news in itself, as opined by a senior Brussels-based diplomat.

It is well-known that India has partnered up with EU, projecting on them as the country’s largest export stop and topping the charts as India’s numero uno trade and investment partner.

The summit will be focusing on its strategic partnership for the next five years, which India and EU, has maintained since the year of 2004.

Though with the United Kingdom stressing on the limitations, it has struck against the Indians and other non-EU professionals and with the rest of the EU states demanding India to notch down the ‘high’ duties on vehicles, some of the experts are expressing their doubts about achieving the goal of the Free Trade Agreement in the near future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be having a discussion on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BIT). The scheme was launched back in 2007 but got stagnant after facing an amount of inhibitions in its path.

While returning to the track of political tensions along the lines of commercial relationships, there is to be an amalgamation of ministers particularly belonging to this sector.

According to an EU note:

“India has embarked on a process of economic reform and progressive integration with the global economy that aims to put in on a path of rapid and sustained growth. However, India’s trade regime and regulatory environment remain comparatively restrictive.”

India still maintains substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder trade with the EU. In addition to tariff barriers and imports, India also imposes a number of non-tariff barriers in the form of quantitative restrictions, import licensing, mandatory testing and certification for a large number of products as well as complicated and lengthy customs procedures.”

The dignitaries- the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom and Mogherini, will be attending the summit where the recent Brussels attacks will be a point of discussion.

Finally, an evening on Wednesday will be dedicated to the issue of a diaspora by Modi, after which he will be departing for the Nuclear Security Summit at Washington DC. (Inputs from The Hindustan Times)

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‘Food Shocks’ Increase Over Last Five Decades

The report said trade-dependent countries must find ways to store food in preparation for inevitable shocks elsewhere.

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Food Shocks
'Food Shocks' Increase Over Last Five Decades

Food shocks, or sudden losses of crops, livestock or fish, due to the combination extreme weather conditions and geopolitical events like war, increased from 1961 to 2013, said researchers at The University of Tasmania in a report released Monday.

Researchers saw a steady increase in shock frequency over each decade with no declines.

The report, published in Nature Sustainability, said that protective measures are needed to avoid future disasters.

The authors studied 226 shocks across 134 countries over the last 53 years and, unlike previous reports, examined the connection between shocks and land-based agriculture and sea-based aquaculture.

“There seems to be this increasing trend in volatility,” said lead author Richard Cottrell, a PhD candidate in quantitative marine science at the University of Tasmania in Australia. “We do need to stop and think about this.”

Extreme weather events are expected to worsen over time because of climate change, the report said, and when countries already struggling to feed their populations experience conflict, the risk of mass-hunger increases.

FILE - A farmer harvests wheat in a field in Jdeidet Artouz, a suburb southwest of Damascus, Syria, June 19, 2017.
FILE – A farmer harvests wheat in a field in Jdeidet Artouz, a suburb southwest of Damascus, Syria, June 19, 2017.

The researchers found that about one quarter of food resources are accessed through trade, and many countries could not feed their populations without imports, making them particularly vulnerable to food shocks of trading partners.

As the frequency of shocks continues to increase, it leaves what Cottrell called “narrowing windows” between shocks, making it nearly impossible to recover and prepare for the next one.

The report said trade-dependent countries must find ways to store food in preparation for inevitable shocks elsewhere.

agriculture
The researchers found that about one quarter of food resources are accessed through trade, and many countries could not feed their populations without imports, making them particularly vulnerable to food shocks of trading partners. Pixabay

Countries must invest in “climate-smart” practices like diversifying plant and animal breeds and varieties and enhance soil quality to speed recovery following floods and droughts, the report said.

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“We need to start changing the way we produce food for resiliency,” Cottrell said, adding that he had yet to see much action being taken by wealthy food-producing countries. “Because we are going to see a problem.”

The report was released the same day the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported findings on conflict and hunger.

That report stated that around 56 million people across eight conflict zones are in need of immediate food and livelihood assistance. (VOA)