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One size fits all to not work in trade negotiations: Kamal Nath

Mar '07
The International Seminar on “Saving Doha and Delivering on Development” began here with the Commerce & Industry Minister, Shri Kamal Nath, categorically stating that there can be no “one size fits all” approach in the WTO Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations as different countries are in different stages of development.

“While it is important that the Doha Round negotiations are brought to a successful conclusion, conclusion of the round cannot be at the cost of its content, which is to ensure a clear balance between market opening and the development needs of the majority of the membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)”, he said.

He also flagged the important point that the round was not just about providing market access to all countries, irrespective of their existing share of global trade. “It is in the interest of developed countries to ensure healthy economies in countries of Asia and Africa by ensuring a level playing field. Otherwise, inequities of the existing system will hit trade flows from developed countries as people in developing countries will not have the purchasing power to buy goods and services from the developed world”, he stressed.

Chairing the inaugural session, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of External Affairs, called for serious efforts to consolidate the development agenda of the Doha Round. “Thebiggest handicap is that we have not been able to develop benchmarks to facilitate a developmental audit of the progress of negotiations. We need to ensure that the development dimension stays in clear focus”, he said.

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