India rejects Rules text as deeply flawed

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New Delhi, May 29 (UNI) Dubbing it ''fundamentally and deeply flawed,'' India today rejected the draft Rules text of Doha round, saying it would imperil the livelihoods of millions of poor and vulnerable small and artisanal fishers if not revised.

Calling for revision of the text for greater clarity, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath today said unless and until the text was revised, the process for negotiating drafts on agriculture and industry (NAMA) could not be carried forward.

Commenting on document of Chairman of the Negotiating Group on Rules of Doha Round released in Geneva yesterday, the Minister said, ''one major developed country has again succeeded in holding up the process'' in spite of the near unanimity in the World Trade Organisation to have a revised text on Rules.

The revised text was a must before moving into a horizontal process on agriculture and industry (NAMA) modalities, he added.

He said it was disappointing to note ''one major developed country'' holding up the entire process because of ''its desire to protect its WTO-inconsistent measure of zeroing in anti-dumping.'' He dismissed the working document a mere compilation of ''who said what'' and rejected the reasoning advanced by the Chair for not coming out with a revised text, as a piece of ''inspired fiction.'' On special and differential treatment of fisheries subsidies, which is of vital concern to India, China, Indonesia and many other developing countries, the Minister said the unchanged draft Rules text ''is fundamentally and deeply flawed.'' If accepted, the proposals would imperil the livelihoods of millions of poor and vulnerable small, artisanal fishers and just could not be accepted by India.

Likening fisheries subsidies to special products in agriculture, he said both are vital to protect the livelihood and food security of the most vulnerable sections of the population.

Mr Nath said India and other developing countries had told the WTO chief and Rules Chair that without a revised Rules text, it would not be possible to move into a horizontal process, culminating in a Ministerial in June.

The Minister wondered whether WTO officials were serious about holding horizontal meetings or they were just succumbing to pressure from ''one major country,'' thereby jeopardising the efforts to conclude the Doha Round by the year end.

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