New Delhi: India and Brazil, which represent the interest of developing countries in the WTO, feel that differences in positions of key players will have to be ironed out by July if the Doha Round of trade negotiations is to be completed this year.
“If one has to conclude negotiations by 2007 end, we have to come to an agreement on modalities by July, which means two-three months of very intensive work,” Brazilian Minister of External Relations Celso Amorim said at a CII seminar on 13 April.
“We are in a decisive stage... a positive result is possible and within reach. The modalities by July are a real possibility,” Amorim said.
He said although no country or group had spelt out positions clearly, broad contours of an agreement were beginning to emerge.
Separately, a key Indian commerce ministry official said that differences over how much tariff and subsidy cuts developing and developed countries should take on agriculture and manufactured goods, will have to be sorted out by the end of June if “we want to conclude the Round by end of 2007”.
On 12 April, six key WTO players, including India, Brazil, US and EU, had pledged to conclude the much-delayed Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks by the end of this year.
Amorim also said while WTO may be tilted toward the developed countries, it is still the “best that we can have”.
Brazil is also a member of the Cairn Group of nations, which are major exporters of agricultural goods and are demanding freer trade in farm products. India, however, wants to protect its farmers from cheap imports.
The Brazilian minister said his country would not underestimate India’s sensitivities in rural areas and “unfailingly support” it in its efforts to protect its special products.
Earlier in the day, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said no single country can make or break the WTO talks.
Her comments came in the wake of widespread opinion that the tough stance taken by the US was holding an agreement at the World Trade Organisation.
“President Bush has made clear that we in the US are ready to do our part - whether on market access or on trade distorting subsidies. But we cannot do it alone,” Schwab had said.