This has been conveyed by Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to WTO Director General Pascal Lamy at a meeting in Geneva.While reaffirming India’s commitment to an “ambitious and balanced outcome” of the Doha round Sharma stressed the need for an early conclusion of trade negotiations.
Both Lamy and Sharma agreed that one of the main threats to the revival of trade flows was the rising protectionist pressures and continued delay in concluding Doha Round.
Therefore, strengthening the multilateral trading system by concluding the Doha round at the earliest is a vital imperative, Sharma emphasised.
The conclusion of the round would provide a big boost to help recovery of global economy, he suggested. During his stay Sharma also met Ambassadors of key players in the Doha round, including the G33, NAMA 11 and the recently constituted G11, Chairs of Agriculture, NAMA and Services.
Taking stock of the Doha round trade negotiations, he pointed out that since March 2010 stock taking, while some progress has been achieved in small group meetings, the text based negotiations led by the chairs must resume at the earliest.
He said that while there are still a few gaps and large number of unresolved issues, the December 2008 texts of Agriculture and NAMA presented “a fine balance and any attempt to revisit settled issues would potentially unravel the round itself.”
Sharma felt that 2011 presented a “year of opportunity” for conclusion of the Doha round and felt that through the forthcoming G20 summit in Seoul, a strong articulation of political intent would lend the necessary momentum to negotiations.
However, Sharma reiterated “the mandate of the Doha Round, which is primarily a Development round, is non-negotiable and should be respected.” The final outcome must correct the historical distortions and address structural flaws in the global trading regime, while responding to the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the poor in the developing world, he asserted.
The Special safeguard mechanisms and special products are crucial to protect the livelihood concerns of millions of small and marginal farmers in the developing world, Sharma told the WTO Chief.