Economy

Doha Round: Intensive talks to begin in Geneva next month

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 31, 2011 Published on January 31, 2011




World Trade Organisation-member countries, including India, will start intensive discussions next month in Geneva to resolve the outstanding issues and conclude the Doha Development Round negotiations for a global trade deal this year.

“Next month onwards we will have intensive discussions in Geneva (at the WTO-headquarters). The intention of all (WTO) members is to conclude the Round this year. India is very positive about this,” Mr D. K. Mittal, Additional Secretary, Commerce Ministry, told reporters here on Monday.

“We see a hope, willingness and traction among members to close the outstanding issues and we have observed that in the last one week. This has been reinforced by the world leaders even recently in Davos (at the World Economic Forum) that Doha Round must be closed as early as possible. The negotiators are acting in that direction,” he added.

The Doha Round for liberalisation of global trade was launched in 2001. But the talks have been deadlocked due to the differences between the developing and the developed countries, on the extent of liberalisation of merchandise goods, agriculture and services.

The discussions will be on all outstanding issues under subtexts, Mr Mittal said, adding different agreements have identified issues on which convergence have not happened so far.

“When we have G-11 meetings, the 11 key (WTO member-) countries participating will discuss these issues and they will go to a larger membership through the Trade Negotiating Committee meetings or the General Council meeting in Geneva. That is how larger membership participates and these 11 members are trying to find a solution,” he said.

“Many issues have already been agreed to. It is only some outstanding issues that need to be resolved,” he added. Mr Mittal said there will also be meetings of the Chairs of the different negotiating groups, adding that the discussions are happening in bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral formats to conclude the Round.

He said the outstanding issues regarding the Doha Round will also figure in the talks with the US Commerce Secretary, Mr Gary Locke, during his forthcoming trip to India.

> arun.s@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 31, 2011
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