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New WTO chief Azevedo to meet Sharma, India Inc Monday

Last Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 13:12

New Delhi: New WTO chief Roberto Azevedo will meet Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Monday to discuss issues such as trade facilitation pact ahead of the global trade body's meet in Bali, sources said.

Azevedo will also meet members of industry body CII and FICCI.

"The new WTO Director General and Sharma will discuss issues such as trade facilitation agreement (TFA), food security and a package for least developed countries," a senior official in the commerce ministry said.

India has said that it would proceed on any agenda of Doha Round only when developed countries including the US agree to a deal on food subsidies.

The ninth WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Bali from December 3-6. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the 158-member WTO which meets at least once every two years.

During his maiden visit here, Azevedo will apprise Indian industry of the state of play in the ongoing negotiations to clinch a global trade deal.

Azevedo took over as WTO DG from Pascal Lamy in September.

On the other hand, developed countries want India and other developing economies to agree on trade facilitation agreement (TFA).

So far under the Doha round of global trade talks, which started in November 2001, TFA has emerged to be the only such area where there is some hope of a consensus.

The TFA aims to reduce red tape on international borders and enhancing customs cooperation leading to smoother flow of consignments and significantly reduce transaction cost of exporters.

On food security issue, a French think tank CIRAD has advocated to correct WTO rules for public stocks.

The question of public stockholding for food security will be at the center of the next WTO negotiations in Bali.

It has said that the current WTO rules "strongly overestimate" the real subsidy provided by public stocks.

"...They are obviously unfair, as they disadvantage the countries that use this kind of tool to protect their farmers. And these countries are mainly developing countries," it said.

It said that the use of buffer-stocks by developing countries is strongly limited by current rules of the WTO.


First Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 13:12
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