Industry reacts cautiously to WTO proposals

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Ahmedabad, Sep 2 (UNI) Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Centre for WTO studies, Department of Commerce, today held consultation with the stakeholders from chemical, pharmaceuticals, electrical and industrial machinery sector in Gujarat for the WTO NAMA (Non-Agricultural Market Access) negotiations.

Mr R S Ratna, Professor, centre for WTO studies, told mediapersons that the representatives of the industry from Gujarat expressed caution on the ''sectoral Proposals'' in WTO that aimed to reduce custom duty either to zero or very low level in a phased manner.

FICCI said that under the NAMA negotiations, proposals have been made by different countries to eliminate tariff in 14 sectors, including the above-mentioned three sectors. Together these three sectors account for 43 per cent of total industrial investment and 41 per cent of total industrial employment in the organised sector.

FICCI stressed that participation in these sectoral intiatives is on a ''non-mandatory'' or ''voluntary'' basis for each country. Countries participating in these sectoral negotiations would be reducing their tariffs to zero or very low level over a period of time.

Mr R S Ratna said that the industry felt that participation in the sectorals by India may not guarantee any effective market access to Indian industry even if the tariffs are reduced to zero by developed countries as a part of these sectoral negotiations.

This is because developing countries face a lot of Non-Tariff barriers in the developed countries especially in chemical sector which restrict their exports even if they are allowed to export to developed countries at zero tariff levelIn the absence of effective resolution of the issue of Non-Tariff barriers, Indian industry may not gain much by participating in these sectoral negotiations, he added.


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