VP Singh slams Manmohan's statement on Doha Round

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New Delhi, Oct 19 (UNI) Former Prime Minister VP Singh has criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reported statement that Doha Round of talks should move ahead on the path of removing trade barriers.

''We have noted with concern and dismay the Prime Minister's inopportune, unjustified and sudden overture to President Bush conveying India's acceptance of the text on NAMA(Non-Agriculture Market Access) presented by the respective chairs of the negotiating groups in the current Doha Round of negotiations in Geneva,'' the former Prime Minister said here.

He pointed out that as recently as in July, the Chair of NAMA-11 Group of developing countries of which India was a member, made a detailed statement on behalf of the Group squarely challenging the approach and content of the text put forward by the Chair of the NAMA Group and rejecting it in its present form as the basis for negotiations.

The above stand was fully supported by a large number of developing countries in the WTO General Council Meeting held in Geneva on October 9, he said, adding that India has been a vocal and leading member of NAMA-11 Group and fully supportive of the Group position.

These countries have refused to accept the Chair's text as the basis for negotiations as the text has failed to take into account the positions collectively put forward by the developing countries on the spurious plea that there was no North-South dimension to these negotiations, although the modalities contained therein virtually reflect the collective position of developed countries, Mr Singh said.

Moreover, the Chair's text in Agriculture was tentative and non-definitive at the present stage, leaving open the question of likely range of market access that may become available, he said.

The former Prime Minister cautioned the Government against any compromise on the issue of concessions by the developed world, saying it would be disastrous for the country's farmers.


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