India firms up G-33 stand at world trade talks

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New Delhi, Jul 18 (UNI) Highlighting Indian concerns on agricultre and industrial goods tariff during his meeting with World Trade Organisation Chief Pascal Lamy in Geneva, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath today sought adequate and appropriate flexibilities for developing countries like India.

''There can be no caveats such as number and trade volume limitations as proposed by the United States to the usage of these flexibilities,'' Mr Nath told Mr Lamy.

Developed countries, including the United States, on the other hand, are linking up farm concessions to the developing world with tariff concessions on industrial goods from the developing countries.

The Minister is slated to attend a G-33 meeting in Geneva later today and then hold bilateral meetings with Argentina Secretary of State for Coomerce Alfredo Chiaradia, Brazil Foreign Minister Celso Amorim to firm up stand of developing countries for the week-long ministerial.

G-33 is group of developing countries whose number has gone beyond 40 after it was formed as bloc to hold negotiations with developed countries.

Earlier, Kamal Nath held briefing sessions with Indian officials, including Commerce Secretary G K Pillai and Additional Secretary Rahul Khullar.

The Minister told them to negotiate effectively for getting a secure and fair deal in the WTO.

Mr Nath, who will not be able to participate in the week-long ministerial on July 21-22 as he has to present in Delhi when the Manmohan Singh government seeks trust vote in Parliament, will return to the capital Sunday.

During his absence, Mr Pillai will represent the country at the ministerial, for which WTO has permitted it on Indian request.

Before leaving for Geneva, Mr Nath said India was ready to clinch deals on agriculture and industrial goods in the ministerial if the developed countries showed flexibilities in services.

He said India was ready to give market access to farm products, except Special Products (SPs) which the country would determine.

The country, he added, was also ready for trade in agri products, provided a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SPM) was put in place to protect the livelihood of millions of subsistance farmers against any surge in volumes or prices of farm products.

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