WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — India and the U.S. are working toward ending a stalemate over food security and a new Indian food distribution for the poor that was seen as a major hurdle to reaching a global trade deal this year, the Financial Times reported on Sept. 16.

Roberto Azevêdo, the new head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), called on member countries to break a deadlock in negotiations towards a three-pronged “Doha lite” agreement due to be signed at the trade body’s biennial ministerial meeting in Bali in December, the newspaper said. 

A stalemate on food security had been seen as one of the main threats to such a deal, which is also due to tackle removing customs red tape around the world and increasing development assistance to poor countries. 

India had been accused by others of holding the Bali package “hostage” to the food security negotiations. 

Rather than both sides shaping up for a fight over how big government food-buying and distribution programs for the poor are administered, the consensus has moved towards negotiating the terms of a “peace clause.” This would see negotiations continue for a set time, during which critics of the Indian and other programs agree not to file a case challenging them to the WTO. The compromise was first proposed by China at an earlier meeting, the Financial Times reported.