New WTO texts leave little space for India to protect farmers

New WTO texts leave little space for India to protect farmers
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First Published: Tue, May 20 2008. 03 44 PM IST
Updated: Tue, May 20 2008. 03 44 PM IST
PTI
New Delhi: Fresh WTO proposals for a global trade deal leaves India and other developing countries with little policy space to protect their farmers and nascent industries, a senior official said on Tuesday.
India felt let down as the revised texts on agriculture and industrial goods, released last night, will not allow the developing countries to shield their farmers and industries from cheap imports if an agreement is signed on the lines of these proposals.
If the new agriculture text is adopted, India will be allowed to designate less number of Special Products, which it can protect from unrestricted imports from agro-exporting countries like the US, Canada and Australia.
Likewise, India’s plea for greater flexibility in protecting its industries, including small and medium units, has not found much favour in the draft proposals for duty cuts on manufactured goods, official sources told PTI.
“The American pressure seems to have played a role on the revised proposals,” an official said.
Pressure seems to be mounting on bigger developing countries, like India, China, Brazil and South Africa to “yield their market” while the developed countries do not appear prepared for sacrifice, he said.
The Doha negotiations, launched in 2001, for a market opening multilateral trade agreement have remained inconclusive amid differences between developed and developing countries. The talks were mandated to be concluded by end of 2004.
India is upset that the new proposals, released by chairman of the negotiating group on agriculture Crawford Falconer, has set a limit on a safeguard mechanism for protecting its small and marginal farmers.
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First Published: Tue, May 20 2008. 03 44 PM IST