Manmohan Singh meets visiting WTO trade ministers

Visiting trade ministers of over 30 nations including US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and WTO director general Pascal Lamy met PM Manmohan Singh here.

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2009, 22:39 PM IST

New Delhi: Visiting trade ministers of more than 30 countries including US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and WTO director general Pascal Lamy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.
During the meeting, the ministers held a discussion regarding various vital issues.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Pascal Lamy said that that certain differences existed between rich countries and developing nations.

"They (differences between rich and developing countries) remain the tough nut to crack in the negotiations and we shouldn`t underestimate this, what happened during last two days is the reality check. Do they (rich and developing countries) have the political will to conclude unanimously? The answer is yes and this `yes` was extremely clear from the least developed countries, African Union," Lamy added.

Lamy further said that new commitments were needed to solve various issues between developing and developed nations.

"A new layer of rules and market opening commitments is what this planet needs and the more we will go into the negotiations the more the views will share by developing countries," Lamy added. Key trade ministers agreed to relaunch the stalled World Trade Organisation`s Doha talks with intensified negotiations later this month.

The negotiators will hold the meeting for a week beginning September 14.

Meanwhile, activists of various Left organizations staged a protest in Kolkata against the ongoing ministerial meeting of key WTO member.

Activist accused the WTO of following imperialistic policies.

"Every time we are opposing the imperialist design of the WTO, they have taken steps against the sovereignty of our country and third world countries," said Rabin Deb, a communist leader. The Delhi meeting did not look at any of the specific issues that remain open, such as a safeguard to help farmers in poor countries cope with a flood of imports, or proposals to eliminate duties entirely in some industrial sectors.

The talks will resume on the basis of the draft negotiating texts issued in December 2008.

That should provide comfort to WTO members from Brazil to the European Union, who had feared that the United States wanted to unpick what has already been agreed over the past seven years, jeopardising the emerging deal.