Delay in concluding Doha pact will encourage protectionism: PM
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Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009, 22:41
New Delhi: Applauding the global trade ministers for breaking the logjam over Doha Round of talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said delay in resuming talks would have encouraged voices of protectionism.

Interacting with the trade ministers of the WTO member countries, who are in the capital to attend the two-day informal ministerial meeting, Singh said if Doha process was allowed to remain inconclusive, it would hurt all economies, especially the vulnerable ones, already hit by the financial crisis.

Complimenting the trade ministers for having reached a consensus for resuming Doha talks within 10 days in Geneva, he said, "this will uplift the animal spirit of economic agents all over the world."

The trade ministers of WTO-member countries agreed that chief negotiators and senior officials will meet in Geneva for a week beginning September 14 to restart the negotiation process.

Talks had collapsed in Geneva in July 2008, after India, among others, opposed agriculture subsidies offered by rich nations to their farmers on the grounds that this distorts trade by making produce of developing countries costly.

Among those who met Singh at his residence include US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy and Brazilian External Affairs Minister Celso Luiz Nunez Amorim.

Pointing out that India had an abiding interest in an open, liberal and rule-based global trade regime, Singh expressed the hope that success achieved by the trade ministers in Delhi meeting would help the world leaders in their deliberation at G-20 Summit scheduled in Pittsburgh later this month.

The ministers of the WTO-member countries complimented India for its initiative to convene the informal ministerial meeting and termed it an "extraordinary success".

While key WTO members from about 30 countries agreed to remain engaged in negotiating a global trade agreement, countries, both from developed and developing world, did not hesitate from tough posturing.

The two-day meeting which concluded today did not come out with any declaration, but a summary of the deliberations was released by India which chaired of the meeting.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009, 22:41

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