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Kamal Nath presents new formula on market access

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 11: Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath has told representatives of developed countries, at the G-6 meeting being currently held in London, that concerns of developing nations must be met in the areas of market access.

''We might as well wind up the talks and go home if the concerns of developing countries in the area of market access are not met,'' he said.

The G-6 meeting is being attended by the European Union (EU), the United States, Brazil, India, Japan and Australia to discuss issues relating to the ongoing Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Turning the tables on developed countries through a twist to para 24 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, Mr Nath strongly underlined the need for special and differential (S and D) treatment for developing countries by insisting that the level of ambition in the negotiations should first be done in percentage terms rather than in terms of coefficients.

Presenting a simple forward formula for progress of the trade talks, the minister said developed countries should first declare their level of ambition in agriculture, and whatever they were willing to do, developing countries would do two-thirds of that.

Whatever developed countries are willing to do in agriculture, developing countries could be willing to match in non-agricultural market access (NAMA), but here also developed countries must do 10 per cent more.

This linkage would satisfy the requirement of para 24 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration. But developed countries are not willing to follow this methodology, Mr Nath said.

He added that the EU is unwilling to move in agricultural market access and the United States is unwilling to move on domestic support.

But both, together with some other developed countries, are pressing countries like India and Brazil to provide more market access in the industrial sector through coefficients for tariff cuts that did not take into account sensitivities of developing countries.


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