India disappointed over slow progress in WTO Doha talks

Leaders of the world's most influential countries, including the US and the European Union, Brazil and India had agreed for concluding WTO talks for a multi-lateral agreement in 2011.

"Earlier this year, there was a window of opportunity. Unfortunately the progress has been less than encouraging, disappointing," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told PTI here.

However, he said that the member nations would remain engaged and review the talks in the next Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Geneva in December. Trade ministers of all 153 member nations are expected to attend the Ministerial Meeting, the highest policy making organ of the multi-lateral trade body.

"...there has been a reaffirmation in the last mini- ministerial in Paris to remain engaged, to take it (Doha Round) forward and try to conclude it as a single undertaking," Sharma said, adding soon trade ministers from some countries would visit New Delhi to discuss the issues.

The Doha Round of talks, launched in 2001, has already missed several deadline on account of differences between developing and advanced nations on issues like market access for agriculture and industrial goods.

Differences between rich and developing nations have been a stumbling block for an agreement. India and other developing nations have been defending their agricultural market to protect millions of subsistence farmers from easy imports following the multilateral agreement.

The US and the other developed countries are, however, seeking more market access in developing nations, including India. As per the WTO estimate, successful conclusion of Doha talks could boost the global trade by up to USD 200 billion in a year.

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