New Delhi: Negotiators from key WTO members, including India, China and the US, will begin the marathon three-month meeting in Geneva from tomorrow to sort out vexed issues hampering conclusion of the Doha Round of trade talks.
The trade negotiators, who are working against a tight schedule, will engage themselves in intense deliberations and prepare the ground for a high-level stalk taking meeting scheduled in March.
Unless the trade negotiators are able to sort out the problems with regard to agricultural and industrial goods among the WTO members, it would be difficult to meet the 2010 deadline for conclusion of the Doha Round, an official said.
Global leaders, including the G-20 members, have been seeking completion of the Doha Round of talks in 2010.
“The stock taking exercise which may be done by senior officials is very important for the progress of the talks... everyone is saying that by the end of this year the Round should be concluded,” the official said.
In February, the negotiators will hold parallel deliberations on agriculture, non-agricultural products and services, while in March intellectual property rights, technology transfer, trade in goods and trade facilitation issues would be discussed.
The problem areas of the talk include high-level of farm subsidy in developed countries, demand for better market access for industrial products in the developing countries, level of farmers’ protection in the poor and developing countries like India.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma met a few WTO members like China and Brazil on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland and discussed progress of talks on Doha Round.
Commenting on the possibility of concluding the Doha Round of talks aimed at enhancing global commerce, Lamy had said that reaching an agreement is “doable in 2010” but “we now need to see it done.”
“We have planned a schedule of technical work over the next months. Governments will assess at the end of March is it still feasible to conclude negotiations this year,” he has said.
The Doha talks were to conclude and culminate into a multilateral trade-opening pact in 2005.
However, the Round was marred by lack of desire both by the rich and developing nations to open their markets while seeking new pastures for their own goods.
Since the launch of talks at Doha, the Qatari capital, the WTO has held two full-fledged Ministerial Meetings (the highest policy making organ) at Cancun and Hong Kong without much success.