Sharma defends India's stand on Doha

“There has been a deadlock for close to 14 months for various reasons. Sometimes, it has been projected that there was non-agreement and it was India which was responsible. No, that’s not correct. We took a position. Other developing countries took a position,” Sharma said at a function here last night.

The Doha round of talks had collapsed at Geneva in July last year primarily on concerns over level of protection available to farmers in the developing countries in the multilateral global trade pact.

“If the talks collapse, then nobody is the gainer. Our objective is to re-engage and put in place a rule-based multilateral trade regime which is fair, equitable and which corrects the historical distortions that have hurt the developing world,” Sharma said. India is hosting the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting in New Delhi this week, which would be attended by major groupings like the G-20 led by India and Brazil, African Group led by Egypt, the US and the European Union.

India’s stand would be to ensure that the new regime took on board the legitimate aspirations of the developing nations, he added.

Zero duty regime

Meanwhile, Indian industry strongly opposed a proposal of the developed countries that duty on specific sectors be eliminated under the sectoral initiative of the Doha Round of trade talks. “... sectoral tariff negotiations should remain non-mandatory,” Ficci President Harsh Pati Singhania said in an official statement.


No real impact of crisis on remittances

The global financial crisis has so far failed to significantly slow down inflow of remittances in India, the Reserve Bank said. “Available information indicates that inward remittances to India have not been impacted significantly by the economic crisis,” the RBI said in its annual report. According to the World Bank estimates, remittance flows to developing countries, which increased to US$328 billion in 2008 from US$285 billion in 2007, are projected to decline by 7.3 per cent in 2009, the RBI said.India remained the top recipient of migrant remittances with US$52 billion in 2008 as against US$38.7 billion, it said citing the World Bank estimates, and added flows to South Asia have continued strong growth.

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