New Delhi: Commerce minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday asked developed countries to reconsider their stand in the World Trade Organization, or WTO, especially on issues that affect the poor and marginalized sections in the developing countries.
“The Doha Round was meant to see (the development of) healthy economies in the developing world. These, in turn, will provide market for the goods of the developed world,” Nath said, addressing a conference organized to mark the visit of WTO director general Pascal Lamy.
The July 29 Doha Round ministerial negotiations failed over sharp differences over the provision of special safeguard mechanism, or SSM, which allows developing countries to protect their farmers, by imposing additional import duties, if the imports in a particular commodity breach a certain level.
India and the US spearheaded the rival factions on SSM.
Positive note? WTO director general Pascal Lamy (left) and Union commerce minister Kamal Nath in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photograph: Manvender Vashist / PTI
Meanwhile, Lamy, speaking at the conference, sought to clarify that it was some members of WTO who were pushing for an early conclusion of the Doha Round.
He didn’t elaborate. “I can only help. It is some members who wanted to conclude early. Even today, a lot of members actually wanted to preserve the offers that are on the table,” said Lamy who is scheduled to visit the US after the India tour.
“I will leave Delhi with an idea of the political sensibilities in India over the SSM,” added Lamy, claiming that a bit of political thinking and reconsideration has to take place if the deadlock over SSM has to be resolved.
Lamy, who will retire as WTO director general early next year, said he “did not know” if there will be another ministerial meeting before the end of 2008.
However, he reasserted his belief that the conclusion of the Doha Round will benefit all countries involved, with two-thirds of the benefits accruing to the developing world.