Are trade talks nearing conclusion? Not quite, says India
New Delhi: In what could dash the hopes of
WTO chief Pascal Lamy that the ongoing trade ministers`
meeting here would lead to successful culmination of global
trade talks, India on Thursday said the end was nowhere in sight.
"In some quarters, it has been suggested the most issues
have been settled and we are almost in end-game. However...
there are still a few gaps and large number of unresolved
issues. In some instances, the architecture of a solution is
not yet fully in sight," Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said.
Trade ministers from 35 key WTO member countries are
meeting here for two days from today to push for a global
trade pact, talks for which began in Doha in 2001.
"I hope Delhi (meeting) can be the beginning of the end
game of the Doha Round," Lamy said at an industry meeting
today before the talks began.
Besides Lamy, Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean too
felt that the Doha round is nearing the end-game.
Expressing concern over attempts to cut short the well
laid out procedures for technical discussions on opening of
trade of agriculture and industrial products, Sharma said: "We
cannot risk alienating any of those (the members) involved".
The two-day meeting which begun amidst tight security is
being attended by trade ministers and representatives from
Australia, Brazil, the US, South Africa and China among
Sharma said the discussions "ought to mainly focus on the
best way to spark the multilateral negotiations to move the
round to a quick closure."
International leaders at various fora like G-20 summit
have set a set a deadline of 2010 for concluding the Doha
The Doha negotiations had collapsed in Geneva in July
last year mainly on the issues of farm subsidies and level of
protection being given to farmers by different members
The final outcome of the Doha round, Sharma said,
"must correct the historical distortions and address
structural flaws in the global trading regime, while
responding to the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the
poor in the developing world".
Making a case for taking forward the other items on
agenda, besides agriculture and industrial goods, he said,
"can parallel negotiations in services and other areas be
taken on board in a more proactive manner?"
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