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Post-Doha, India, China to work together

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, April 19

INDIA and China, the newest member of WTO, can work together closely in areas of agriculture and environment, prior to the run-up to the fifth WTO ministerial in Mexico sometime next year.

Participating in an interactive session on `WTO-the on-going negotiations at Geneva-Post Doha', organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce & Industry here, Mr S.N.Menon, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, said both countries would be working in areas of common interest.

He said preliminary dialogue with a team of Chinese agriculture experts at the Commerce Ministry has already been concluded.

Outlining the features of the works programme to be adopted by India post-Doha, he said consultations with stakeholders (Indian industry) have already begun, for formulating strategy at the meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) under WTO.

The TNC, after collecting the inputs, would report to the ministerial, he clarified.

He also reiterated India's stand at Doha that the trade procedures have to become more transparent. The preparatory process should be more streamlined at open meetings at the Geneva Council of the WTO, he pointed out.

On the services area, "we are in the process of preparing the `positive list' by June 30. Each member country is expected to prepare a positive list and place it before the general council."

As part of the preparatory process, prior to the Mexico Ministerial, he said the Ministry was organising a legal round table in July, most likely in Bangalore, in collaboration with the National Law School experts to sensitise the legal community to WTO issues. International lawyers are also expected to participate in the round table conference.

He described the WTO as a unique institution, with inherent legal systems, panels and appellate bodies, which require a great deal of understanding.

Admitting that there was power play at the WTO talks, he said there was need for adopting a single undertaking through a process of consensus.

He also stressed on the importance of technical assistance and capacity building, now taken up as a programme at the WTO level.

Admitting that influence of regional trade blocs on WTO negotiations was a matter of great concern, he said the IIFT has been commissioned to do a study on this aspect of multi-lateral trading system.

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