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G-4 Ministers broke down in Potsdam

Jun '07
Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry said that the talks among the G-4 Ministers broke down in Potsdam (Germany) on 21 June, 2007 because of the failure of the developed countries to accept effective reductions in their agricultural subsidies and at the same time, seeking additional market access in the developing countries for their agricultural products, including for their highly subsidized ones.

“Agreeing to this would have not only been against the mandate of the Doha Development Round, it would have seriously jeopardized the livelihoods of the farmers of the developing and least developed countries and threatened the food security of many poorer nations”, Shri Kamal Nath said, emphasising that there was no question of any compromise on agricultural market access issues which would have affected our farmers.

The Trade Ministers of G-4 (India, Brazil, the EC and the US) met in Potsdam 19-21 June 2007. This was the second meeting of the G-4 Trade Ministers since April 2007, when they had charted out a road map in New Delhi for meetings among themselves to engage intensively on all the important issues relating to the stalled Doha Round negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Ministers had resolved then to try to seek convergence on as many issues as possible by the third week of June, so as to facilitate a consensus in the larger multilateral process in the WTO.

On the issue of market access in non-agricultural products or industrial tariffs, the developed countries had proposed Swiss coefficients of 10 and 15 for themselves and developing countries respectively, which would have led to the former taking average tariff cuts in their industrial products of just over 30%, while the developing countries would have had to reduce their tariffs by more than 60% on an average.

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