India Business
Kamal Nath warns of yet another deadlock at WTO talks
May 4, 2007 - 8:11:34 PM

New Delhi, May 4 - India's Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath Friday said he is 'disappointed' with the developments on agricultural at a special session of the World Trade Organisation - Geneva and stated this could lead to another deadlock.

'While the concerns of all the developed countries have been taken fully on board in a spirit of mutual accommodation, the sensitivities of developing countries with millions of resource poor farmers, have been left effectively unaddressed,' Kamal Nath said in a statement released here in response to the developments at the special session April 30.

'India strongly feels that any outcome of the Doha development round, which tends to perpetuate the structural flaws and distortions in agriculture trade and does not address the sensitivities of the agriculture of the developing countries, will run counter to the Doha mandate and risk another failure of the recently resumed negotiations,' Kamal Nath added.

However, the minister, who delivered a special address on this at the Oxford University's Said Business School Thursday evening, had said the developing countries are responsible for the deadlock in WTO.

According to him the draft paper prepared by the WTO committee 'suffers from a serious imbalance in terms of the suggested way forward.'

'The paper proposes stringent norms and low numbers for the special products - of developing countries, which are required to protect their food security, livelihood security and rural development needs,' Kamal Nath said.

Special products are a group of products such as maize, cotton and rice on which India is demanding that tariffs on imports be cut.

'It also leaves the question of removal of subsidies relating to cotton by a major developed country, which has caused serious problems to many African countries, largely unanswered.'

The talks, that started under the aegis of the WTO, began in Doha, Qatar in 2001 and had resulted in a stalemate last July after the members failed to reach a consensus, largely on domestic support and market access in agriculture.

According to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry -, leaders of Indian industry are also worried over progress on the agricultural issue at the global trade talks and support India and the developing countries' stand that rich nations should prune their agricultural subsidies that would otherwise affect farmers of poorer nations.

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