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What Is India News Service
Monday, March 05, 2007



 

 

 

   India Willing but Cautious on WTO

  In a one-to-one meeting, Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath has reportedly told his European Union counterpart Peter Mandelson that India is willing to restart the stalled Doha Round but is unwilling to rush into a deal.
     
 

In a one-to-one meeting, Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath has reportedly told his European Union counterpart Peter Mandelson that India is willing to restart the stalled Doha Round but is unwilling to rush into a deal. India hopes to achieve a "balance agreement" in negotiations with other G-4 nations (United States, European Union, India, and Brazil) that addresses core concerns of developing nations.

Nath is also expected to hold one-to-one meetings with his American counterpart Susan Schwab, Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim, and World Trade Organization Head Pascal Lamy. There is some doubt whether Brazil will join the G-20 developing nation coalition to continue with negotiations and opt out of the talks to take unilateral position to protect its agricultural interests. Brazil is the coordinator of the G-20.

India is also part of the G-33 coalition which is currently led by Indonesia which argues for a 20 per cent special product demarcation for agriculture products. Washington opposes this proposal because it fears that the 20 per cent will create a "black box" and restrict market access.

On the other hand, the G-33 is suspicious of U.S. stance on domestic subsidies that it gives its farmers under the radar. Many trade representatives of the G-33 say that the U.S. has not promised to adhere to the Doha requirements although it wants all other nations to implement those requirements.

Another coalition called the NAMA 11 (including India, South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil) wants the so-called Swiss formula to be tweaked to accommodate development goals of developing nations.

A senior Australian official writing in the Indian press has sought to inject his nation as an arbitrator to the WTO process. Claiming to have many similarities to India, the official also expresses reservation on how much of the agricultural negotiations can be directed by developing nations-while recognizing that a majority of the population of developing nations are in agriculture. This statement alone displays the lack of sensitivity of developed nations over concerns of agriculture in developing nations. For developed nations, agricultural tariffs and reforms are ways to make more money; for developing nations it is survival of citizens that is at stake.

Therefore, it is impossible to develop any consensus on trade if developed nations, self-professed friends or not, continue to have such attitudes.

 

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