New Delhi: While there is growing pressure from the director general of the World Trade Organization, or WTO, and several developed countries to conclude the Doha Round of talks before the year-end, the chairperson of the non-agricultural market access, or NAMA, trade negotiation group, on Tuesday suspended meetings due to sharp differences among key members.
To narrow down the differences, NAMA chairperson Don Stephenson has set up a core group of 11 members, including India. As a result, the ministerial meeting proposed for 20 June will be postponed yet again, said a senior department of commerce official who did not wish to be identified.
“As things stand, the chairs of the negotiation group for both agriculture and NAMA will have to bring out another set of revised draft texts (on the level and extent of duty cuts and subsidies) before a ministerial meeting can be called. The earliest that can happen is in the first week of July,” said the official.
The other members of the new group, scheduled to meet between 9 and 13 June, are Australia, Japan, EU, Canada, the US, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil, China, South Africa.
The second revised draft text on NAMA and agriculture negotiations, released on 20 May, was described by India as “violative of the Doha mandate”.