Do not re-open settled issues at Doha talks, warns India

Do not re-open settled issues at Doha talks, warns India

Geneva/New Delhi: India has warned that any move to alter the trade opening proposals on which a broad consensus was reached in 2008 between developed and developing countries could unravel the ongoing Doha Round of talks for removing global agriculture, goods and service trade barriers.

“...While there are still a few gaps and large number of unresolved issues, the December, 2008, texts of agriculture and NAMA (industrial goods) presented a fine balance and any attempt to revisit settled issues would potentially unravel the round itself," an official statement quoting commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said in New Delhi.

Sharma yesterday met the director general of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, and key trade negotiators of several groupings like the G33 and NAMA (Non Agricultural Market Access)-11.

In the global trade negotiations, different groups come together with a common interest.

Following an impasse over the level of farmer protection sought by some developing countries, particularly India, the talks broke down at a July, 2008, mini-ministerial meeting.

However, negotiating groups had come up with proposals in their drafts of December, 2008, which India found more or less balanced.

These proposals obligated developed countries to reduce farm subsidies. In the case of industrial goods, the plan was for the developing world to commit to 60-70 % tariff reductions.

In his meeting with Lamy, Sharma said the issue of concluding the nine-year-old Doha Round would come up again at the meeting of G-20 leaders in Seoul next month.

“Sustaining trade and investment flows is critical for the future prosperity of developed and developing economies alike," he said.

The minister said there was a realisation that one of the main threats to the revival of trade flows were the rising protectionist pressures and continued delays in concluding the Doha Round.

“Therefore, strengthening the multilateral trading system by concluding the Doha Round at the earliest is of vital imperative," he said.

Sharma reiterated India’s stance that the development mandate of the Doha Round is “non-negotiable and should be respected".

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