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Commerce Minister's statement on Doha Round negotiations
Feb '08
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, while sharing his views on the Doha Round stated that the negotiations are poised at a critical stage at the moment.

While they hold the promise for a conclusion by the end of this year, unless sagacity and statesmanship is on view from the countries, which have benefited chiefly from globalization so far, the negotiations can also move sharply away from convergence.

Shri Nath stated that after the resumption of talks exactly a year ago in February 2007, considerable progress has been achieved in the negotiations on Agriculture.

However, certain key issues like the cuts in overall trade distorting domestic support, product specific limits in the Amber and Blue Boxes, Green Box disciplines, sensitive products and tariff rate quotas, special safeguard, special products, special safeguard mechanism, tariff simplification, tariff capping, tariff escalation, tropical products and preference erosion etc. are yet to be resolved.

The trade distorting measures resorted to by the developed countries have an impact on global agricultural prices, affecting the livelihoods of millions of farmers in the developing world.

In order to live up to the avowed agenda of a Development Round, the Doha Round has to deliver on a significant and effective reduction in the agriculture subsidies being given by the developed countries. Firm commitments in this regard are yet to be come from these countries.

Therefore, while the progress made in the past one year has been appreciable, considerable work still remains to be done. The Minister expressed the hope that the revised text on Agriculture, which is scheduled to be brought out any day now, will reflect truly the actual progress made and the convergence achieved.

However, Shri Kamal Nath felt that the NAMA Draft Modalities text was unbalanced and reflected the views and ambition of only one set of developed countries, while almost completely disregarding the views of more than a hundred developing countries.

In order for the Doha Round to reach a successful conclusion, the Minister stated, it is imperative that the views of the membership are reflected faithfully in any document that is brought out and the document helps in actually moving forward the negotiations rather than acting as a divisive and precipitating factor among countries.

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