India not hopeful of ministeral on Doha at WTO

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On Board Air India One, Jul 10 (UNI) India does not expect much emerging from the proposed ministerial meeting on July 21 on Doha round at the World Trade Organisation notwithstanding the issue being discussed in the bilateral meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with U S President George Bush on the sidelines of the G-8 summit at Tokayo in Japan yesterday.

''Let's see how Doha (is) resolved at the July 21 ministerial,'' Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told the media on discussions held by the Prime Minster during his several bilaterals and multilateral interactions with world leaders at the G-8 summit in the last three days.

''Every body has its stated positions (on Doha round) ...every body wants to protect its own interests,'' Menon said, adding ''(there is) not much hope (emerging from the ministerial on Doha round).'' President Bush, in a statement issued along side the Indian Prime Minister after their meeting at Tokayo yesterday, said, ''We talked about free trade, the Doha Round, and how important it is that nations such as India and the United States find common ground to make sure protectionist sentiments don't wall us off from the rest of the world.'' Commerce Minister Kamal Nath has warned WTO Chief Pascal Lamy about the dangers of rushing into the proposed ministerial meeting on July 21 without resolving innumerable issues in different dossiers of the Doha negotiations as a recipe for failure.

In a three-page letter handed over to Lamy last week, Nath struck ''a note of caution'' on numerous unresolved issues in agriculture, market-opening for industrial goods, services, rules, and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)-related issues as well as about the process to be adopted ahead of the ministerial meeting.

For India, Mr Nath said, there has to be much greater clarity on Special Products and the Special Safeguard Mechanism, underscoring the need for stabilising the architecture of these two measures soon in order to be reflected in the revised texts, ''preferably with no square brackets.'' India has consistently demanded that about 8 per cent of farm tariff lines be exempted from the tariff reduction commitments, while 12 per cent of tariff lines to be subjected to a minimum cut below 10 per cent.


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