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G-10 ministers discuss progress on WTO negotiations

Last Updated: Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 18:44

Davos: Ministers from G-10 countries, including the US, Saturday held discussions on the progress made at WTO negotiations, especially issues related to the agriculture market.

Persisting differences between developed and developing nations have been a major hurdle in concluding the global trade talks, which began way back in 2001. Debate over access to agriculture market in the developing world, including India, remains unresolved.

The ministerial meeting of G-10 nations was held prior to an informal WTO Ministerial gathering organised by Switzerland on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meet.

According to an official Swiss spokesperson, G-10 members emphasised they have always been engaged constructively, besides being proactive in trying to achieve a reasonable balance between liberalising agricultural markets and the need to accommodate members' specific domestic concerns.
"Ministers emphasised, however, that possible deliverables based on progress achieved in the Doha Round cannot be identified predominantly in the area of agriculture; a balance with other issues is necessary," the spokesperson said.

India and other developing nations are defending their agricultural markets to protect millions of subsistence farmers from easy imports that may result from multi-lateral agreement.

According to the spokesperson, the G-10 ministers said the multilateral trading system has a role to play in addressing global food security.

They also underlined that a clarification and strengthening of WTO disciplines on export prohibitions and restrictions would increase assurance to Members about their ability to access foodstuffs and feeds in world markets.

Meanwhile, G-10 ministers also reiterated their commitment to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.

They also acknowledged that in line with certain parts of the Doha Ministerial Declaration possible areas where progress can be achieved should be identified with a view to implement them at early.

"G-10 Ministers renewed their determination to engage and work constructively with all other Members to advance the work at the WTO," the spokesperson said.

Besides the US, other G-10 group has Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK as members.

Earlier this week, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had said the delay in conclusion of the Doha Round is impacting the global economy.

"This the only round of trade talks that is focused on developmental agenda and it has taken the longest. The delay is definitely impacting or injuring the global economy," he had said.


First Published: Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 18:44
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