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Agri Ministry identifies 80 products for lower tariff cut

17
Mar '07
In a joint statement issued on behalf of Union Commerce and Agriculture Secretaries, the government stated that the Department of Commerce (Ministry of Commerce & Industry) and the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (Ministry of Agriculture) have very closely coordinated in the Agriculture Negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round since 2001 and that the two Departments have followed a commonly evolved approach on all issues, without any exceptions.

In this context, the two Ministries have categorically denied a news item in a section of the press which was published today under the title “Agri Ministry identifies 80 products for lower tariff cut”, stating that the news item is factually incorrect in many important respects and create a misleading impression and that the issues should be seen in the proper perspective.

On the specific issue of Special Products (SPs), the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration of 2005 is very clear. It states, inter-alia, “..Developing country members will have the flexibility to self-designate an appropriate number of tariff lines as Special Products guided by indicators based on the criteria of food security, livelihood security and rural development…”.

The only comprehensive proposal on indicators has been tabled by the G-33 group of countries, of which Indonesia is the coordinator and India, China, the Philippines and 42 other developing and least developed countries are members. Once substantive discussion on these indicators is concluded among the Member countries of the WTO, only then will each developing country be able to use them to self-designate an appropriate number of tariff lines as Special Products. Thus at this stage, the question of discussing specific numbers of Special Products for any country does not arise and is far too premature.

The next Ministerial meeting of the G-33 group of countries is scheduled to be held in Jakarta on 20-21 March, 2007. The appearance of an inaccurate news item at this juncture is, therefore, all the more unfortunate, the statement adds.

Press Information Bureau


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