India asks WTO members to be ready for second best option

Last Updated: Friday, October 30, 2009 - 21:33

New Delhi: Keen to conclude the Doha trade
talks by 2010, India on Friday asked the WTO members to settle for
the "second best" deal, if the best is not possible.

"What`s wrong with Doha Lite? If that`s all you get done
at this point of time, why are we not going ahead?...Why are
we killing ourselves looking for the best when the best is
just not possible at this point of time," Commerce Secretary
Rahul Khullar said at a seminar organised by IIFT here.

India, he added, favoured successful conclusion of the
multilateral trade deal even if it meant accepting the second
best option, being referred as Doha Lite in trade parlance.

Khullar also said the countries of the 153-member World
Trade Organisation (WTO) need to work with a time-line to
ensure that trade talks, which began in 2001 at Doha in Qatar,
are concluded by 2010.

"If you want to conclude the round by 2010, by March all
modalities (blue print) should get done," he said, adding
officials need about six months to finalise specific rates for
duties.

He added, "if it is not done, it would be much worse than
July 2008".

In July 2008, mini-ministerial meeting in Geneva collapsed
due to divergence in views, mainly of India and the US, on
safeguarding the interest of farmers of the developing
countries.

After a gap of 14 months, India had in September convened
a meeting of the about 30 key WTO players, who had agreed to
expeditiously conclude the Doha Round talks.

In November, the WTO Ministerial Meeting would meet at
Geneva, in which key members of the multilateral body,
including India, will take stock of the developments relating
to trade negotiations.

s
The meeting of G-20 nations (developing countries
alliance on agriculture sector) will be held by Brazil on
November 29.

The European Union, a grouping of 27 nations, will also
hold a meeting of about 15 WTO member countries to sort out
contentious issues and firm up its stand.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, October 30, 2009 - 21:33
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