India invited for meeting called by WTO chair to generate political inputs

Amiti Sen Nairobi | Updated on January 22, 2018

The meeting, on Tuesday, will look at how to sort out tricky issues to make Nairobi successful

India will be part of a meeting of trade ministers from key countries at the World Trade Organisation's (WTO's) ministerial meet in Nairobi on Tuesday, called by Kenyan minister (also WTO chair) Amina Mohamed, to generate political inputs on issues that needed a push by the ruling class to build consensus.

While India wants a successful outcome of the Nairobi meet, it has some non-negotiable like agreeing on new conditions set by farm goods exporting countries to get a permanent solution for treating subsidies under its public stockholding programmes, a government official told BusinessLine.

The country, however, is open to constructive discussions on the issue of special safeguard measures and possible trade-offs, but would do so as part of the G-33 coalition, he added.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her meeting with World Trade Organisation Director General Roberto Azevedo on Monday, stated that a 'permanent solution' was an agreed element of the on-going negotiations, and India would not give anything more for it.

The Brazilian trade minister, in a separate meeting with the Indian Minister, indicated that the country may want some additional market access for its small farmers in return for its consent to SSMs that will allow developing countries to raise farm tariffs to check import surge.

The four-day ministerial meet, which kicks off on Tuesday, seeks to reach an agreement on a handful of issues, mostly dealing with agriculture, while deciding what to do with the on-going Doha round that has not delivered much in the last fourteen years.

To help trade ministers reach an agreement on issues such as SSMs, export competition, food procurement and fishery subsidies, the WTO secretariat is planning to form a smaller group of ministers that will help steer the various negotiating groups to the level of reaching a consensus.

Published on December 15, 2015

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