Doha talks on industry suspended; some progress on agriculture

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New Delhi, Jun 4 (UNI) Doha market access negotiations for industrial goods has been suspended, while those on agriculture have made some progress at the World Trade Organisation.

The chair of the negotiating group on non-agricultural market access (Nama), Ambassador Don Stephenson, on Monday suspended holding further meetings on the ground that members are not engaging.

However, the other chair of agriculture negotiations, Ambassador Crawford Falconer, yesterday said he will press ahead with more consultations to further narrow gaps.

Stephenson said after a week of consultations with no progress he was suspending meetings on industrial tariffs until members achieved some convergence.

Falconer, reporting "incremental progress" on farm negotiations, said members have shown willingness to work among themselves to sort out more of their differences. Stating that progress has been "incremental", he said he will call another meeting in the week beginning June 9. In the meantime, delegations could consult among themselves and bring the results to the negotiation, he added.

The agriculture chair said the objective now is to sort out technical differences and simplify political options as members prepare for upcoming negotiations combining agriculture with non-agricultural market access and other subjects.

Last week, Falconer had created a small group to explore whether differences over special products and special safeguard mechanism in agriculture between exporters like United States and importers like India could be narrowed down.

India has rejected Nama draft as "unacceptable", while it wants special safeguard mechanism in the farm draft to protect special products from price surge in international markets for its subsistance farmers.

UNI SAA MP RN1602

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