WTO's new industry draft needs more improvement;Indian Chambers

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (UNI) Country's major apex chambers - CII and FICCI- have called for further improvement in the new text on industry draft released at the World Trade Organisation today.

The new draft, called non-agriculture market access(Nama) in the WTO's parlance, continues to include provisions that are sensitive to Indian industry, R Gopalakrishnan, chairman of CII's WTO and trade agreements committee said.

Calling for further improvement in the draft, the third issued by the Nama Chair, FICCI said "anti-concentration" clause in the draft would put restrictions on flexibilities for developing countries like India as provided for in the 2004 framework. Calling for deletion of such restrictions from the text, Chamber's Secretary general Amit Mitra said flexibilties are vital to protect interests of the country's micro and small-scale industries.

By linking flexibilities with coefficients on tariff reduction, Gopalakrishnan said the new text has belittled the importance of flexibilities which were reaffirmed by the 2005 Hong Kong declaration.

Also taking exception to the linkage, Dr Mitra said flexibilities should be treated on "stand-alone basis" without any "trade-off" with tariff reduction coefficients.

Pointing out that the latest draft continued to create artificial division between the developing countries by providing additional flexibility to one or two particular members, Dr Mitra wanted that this should be available to all developing countries.

Gopalakrishnan expressed himself against anti-concentration clause in the text, saying it would put sensitive industrial sectors in India at risk.

The CII said continuation of the May text coefficients for formula tariff cuts revised today would mean higher percentage cuts by developing countries compared to developed countries. This, he said, goes against the less than full reciprocity clause.

Gopalakrishnan expressed surprise over the inclusion of negotiations on remanufactured goods in the main Nama text, saying the issue calls for intensive study before its inclusion. He reiterated Indian industry's complete opposition to sectoral negotiations.

Expressing their faith in the WTO-based multilateral trading system, both the apex chambers expressed hope for a successful and result-oriented ministerial later this month,leading to conclusion of the Doha round. Both chambers also reposed their trust in the leadership of Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, saying he would protect the country's interests at the WTO.

The minister, however, has warned WTO Chief Pascal Lamy about the dangers of rushing into the ministerial without resolving innumerable issues in different dossiers of the Doha negotiations.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon does not expect much emerging from the July 21 ministerial meeting. Menon, who spent three days in Japan with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who discussed multilateral trade issues with world leaders on July 8-9, yesterday said, ''Every body has its stated positions (on Doha round) ...every body wants to protect its own interests.'' He said he did not have much hope emerging from the ministerial on Doha round.

UNI SAA PDT AS2044

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