India says will stymie moves to derail Doha aims

India will also oppose any attempt by developed countries to shift goal posts of the Doha round of trade negotiations that seek to establish “fair, balanced and equitable” global trading system.

These views will be articulated by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma at the informal WTO meeting of the select trade ministers beginning at Paris, commerce ministry officials said. The two-day long meeting, which has been convened by Australia, is likely to be attended by trade ministers from the European Union, the US, China and Japan.
India has been expressing concern over the heightened activities by the developed countries asking emerging developing countries to drastically cut down import tariff. Such drastic cut in import tariff by developing countries will enable rich countries to flood the markets of developing countries with their products.

“India views such an attempt to shift goal posts as unacceptable and as a violation of the mandate (of the Doha round of trade negotiations),” Sharma has said.

India’s stand is that after taking aggressive cuts in tariff rates under the Swiss Formula, it would be difficult for emerging economies to accept “top-ups” which are sought to be made mandatory.

“Developed countries must appreciate our sensitivities, our autonomous liberalization, the development dimension and the impact on our local industries” in case the developing countries commit to slash import duties, Sharma has said. Articulating India’s negotiation strategy he said India would push for protecting the gains made so far in the Doha Round. “India has maintained that negotiations must continue to build on the progress already made.  Attempts to unravel or re-open issues on which a lot of progress has been made would be counterproductive,” Sharma said.

“It is clear that with such a complex agenda to be negotiated amongst 154 members, the Doha Round cannot be rushed. It is worth noting that much time and effort has gone into it over the last ten years and the results must not be lost,” he said.

Expressing concern at the attempt to shift the discourse from development to purely mercantilist issues, most of them having scant relevance for developing countries, Sharma said “the critical interests to be served are those of protecting the food and livelihood security of farmers and vulnerable industries of developing countries.” Doha Round of trade negotiations, which began in 2001, has missed several deadlines due to sharp differences on the demand by the developed countries on the level of market opening in the developing nations.

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