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Success of WTO Doha talks critical to spurt global trade : FICCI
Aug '09
Welcoming India's initiative to host the upcoming Mini-Ministerial in Delhi, FICCI has called upon the Trade Ministers to prepare a doable action plan with clear targets towards concluding the Doha negotiations by 2010. “We urge the participating Ministers to use this opportunity for readying a blueprint with timelines."

"This would be critical for completing the Doha talks within the present deadline of next year”, FICCI President Harsh Pati Singhania observed. On the importance of Doha development agenda, Shri Singhania stated “While a recent study has estimated $180-520 billion annual rise in world exports from conclusion of Doha round, according to another estimate, failure of these negotiations would prevent a potential $336 billion increase in global trade that would have come from reduction in tariffs and domestic support”.

The Mini-Ministerial scheduled for 3-4 September, would re-engage a large number of key players after a gap of nearly 9 months and inject a fresh momentum to the limping multilateral trade talks, pointed out R V Kanoria, Chairman of FICCI taskforce on WTO issues. “The global economic crisis has not only made the goal of concluding Doha round more challenging, it has also made it more imperative”, Mr Kanoria said. Reaching a balanced multilateral agreement would bring greater certainty, predictability, transparency and stability into global trade, which is so important in today's scenario of economic slowdown and contraction in import demand, he added.

Reiterating the need for early resumption of substantive talks based on the action plan to be decided in the Mini Ministerial, the apex Chamber emphasized that at any stage 'development dimension' of the Doha talks cannot be overlooked. Commenting on non-agricultural market access (NAMA) Shri Singhania said “Sectoral tariff negotiations should remain non-mandatory as this is the feedback received from industry consultations FICCI organized last year in different cities”. Further, there should not be any provision to establish linkages between sectorals and flexibilities. Flexibilities are essential for addressing India's sensitive industrial sectors including micro, small and medium enterprises. Thus there cannot be any unduly restrictive anti-concentration clause that would curb the scope of using flexibilities or policy-space, FICCI pointed out.

Besides agriculture and NAMA, it is necessary to have faster and substantive developments in services negotiations which have remained dormant so far. In view of their considerable strengths and competitive advantages, Indian professionals and service providers expect significant gains from the Doha round in terms of enhanced market access in major export destinations. In 2008, India's share was less than 3% of the $3.7 trillion worth of global exports of commercial services, the Chamber observed.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

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