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India disappointed with WTO draft paper on agriculture

May '07
Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that India is disappointed with a Paper on Agriculture circulated at a Special Session of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva on 30 April, 2007 “because while the concerns of all the developed countries have been taken fully on board in a spirit of mutual accommodation, the sensitivities of developing countries with millions of resource poor farmers, have been left effectively unaddressed”.

India strongly feels that any outcome of the Doha Development Round, which tends to perpetuate the structural flaws and distortions in agriculture trade and does not address the sensitivities of the agriculture of the developing countries and LDCs, will run counter to the Doha mandate and risk another failure of the recently resumed negotiations, Shri Kamal Nath warned.

In a statement issued in London on his return from Oxford, the Minister said that India is specially disappointed to note that the Paper by the Chair of the WTO Committee on Agriculture suffers from a serious imbalance in terms of the suggested way forward.

While it proposes that effectively, the Overall Trade Distorting Support (OTDS) of one of the major agricultural subsidisers could remain at least 50% above its actual levels of subsidies disbursed last year, it also suggests indirectly that the market access commitments of the major group of developed countries could remain at levels proposed in July, 2006 at the time of the breakdown of negotiations or could even be reduced effectively from that level by using liberal flexibilities Such a step would also lead to the impairment of the reduction commitments to the high tariff regimes of another group of developed countries.

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