India presses for revitalizing Doha round of WTO talks

India presses for revitalizing Doha round of WTO talks New Delhi: Regretting the long delay in conclusion of the Doha Round of WTO talks, India has pressed for revitalising the "stalled" negotiations, saying it is necessary to revive the global economy.

Attributing part of the delay to the inactiveness of the US since last January, India hopes that with the Presidential elections there over, it will "re-engage" in the talks.

"Doha round has been the longest round of negotiations in the history," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, referring to the talks that have been going on for about a decade.

He said India is of the view that the negotiations have to be taken to early conclusion.

Asserting India's commitment to take the process forward, he said "we need to revitalise the stalled Doha round of WTO talks and put in place a rule-based multilateral regime so that global economy can be revived."

Talking about the necessity to conclude the Doha Round, he underlined that "protectionism will cause further damage" to global economy, "deepen recession and delay recovery".

Sharma, who was talking to journalists on board the Prime Minister's special aircraft while returning from Cambodia last night, hoped the "US will re-engage in the WTO talks" now that Presidential polls in that country as also change of guard in China are over.

There has been no forward movement in the Doha round of talks for the last several years. The mini-ministerial meeting held in Geneva in July, 2008, had been a major setback for the trade negotiations which have remained moribund since then.

"Post-January last, the US has not been actively engaging (in the talks), so there is a delay in the process," he said.

Sharma, who had met representatives of international financial and banking institutions in Cambodia on Wednesday, said there needs to be an acknowledgement that Asia has a major role to play in the recovery of the global economy and the region must be adequately represented in world bodies.

In this context, he underscored the need for restructuring global financial and banking institutions like the IMF and the World Bank to make them reflect the contemporary global realities.

"There is a need to acknowledge that a major economic shift is taking place in the world, with 40 percent of the world’s output coming from Asia. Economic growth is shifting," he said.

He noted that there have been some changes in the global financial institutions but said "these do not match the requirement. More needs to be done".

The Minister maintained there needs to be more representation to the countries contributing to global economy.

He said contraction of flow of funds due to recession in the western world has hurt the fight against climate change as well.

"So high growth is not an option but imperative for India. The global economic situation has huge social costs," he said.

PTI