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Trade talks tripped over access to developing markets: Kamal Nath

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Minister urges developed nations to uphold multi-lateralism

THE UNION Minister for Commerce & Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, with the WTO Deputy Director General, Mr Harsha V. Singh, and the FICCI President, Mr Saroj K. Poddar, in the Capital on Tuesday. Kamal Narang
THE UNION Minister for Commerce & Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, with the WTO Deputy Director General, Mr Harsha V. Singh, and the FICCI President, Mr Saroj K. Poddar, in the Capital on Tuesday. Kamal Narang

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Aug 8

The suspension of trade negotiations under the Doha Round was due to the developed countries' insistence on extracting agricultural and manufactured products access from developing countries in return for cuts in trade distorting domestic support, said the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath.

Speaking at a meeting organised jointly by ICRIER and FICCI, he said such a position was untenable and worrying because no such quid pro quo was envisaged in the negotiating mandate, which was evolved by consensus through the Doha Declaration, the July 2004 Framework Agreement and the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.

Multi-lateralism

"I am looking forward to leadership from developed countries and I plead with them to return to the negotiating table with something in their pockets and recognise that this round cannot impinge on the livelihood securities of farmers in India and the developing world," Mr Nath said.

He said developing countries have upheld multi-lateralism as the foremost tool to deliver on their right to development and poverty alleviation.

It is the failure of some developed countries, which wish to protect two-three per cent of their farm populations through astronomically large agricultural subsidies, that have evidently displayed lack of faith in multi-lateralism to deliver enormous gains across the Doha Agenda, Mr Nath said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 9, 2006)
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