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Doha round is "deadlocked", says WTO chief

PTI  New Delhi, September 05, 2011
First Published: 20:13 IST(5/9/2011) | Last Updated: 20:18 IST(5/9/2011)

The Doha round of negotiations for liberalising trade is "deadlocked" and the countries need to play a leadership role in opening of the global commerce, WTO director general Pascal Lamy said on Monday.

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"...We know that for the moment the Doha Round is deadlocked," Lamy said while launching the 'Regional Trade Policy' course in the prestigious Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).

On its part, India reiterated that the goal posts set in the negotiating Round cannot be altered."Any dilution of the developmental dimension of the Doha agenda will not be acceptable at all," commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said on the occasion.

In the backdrop of the stalemate in the multilateral trade talks, Lamy said it was important that the member countries showed leadership,pragmatism and determination.

Expressing confidence that the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting in December would show a path forward, Lamy said, "Leadership is crucial because trade negotiations are governments' actions and governing requires making choices, taking decisions and being ready to defend them at home..."

While he did not refer to anyone while emphasising the "leadership" role the WTO member countries need to play,India along with Brazil, South Africa and China are seen as advanced developing countries in the developed world.

The rich world, facing the economic turmoil at home want the emerging economies like India to show flexibility in opening their markets, both in the agriculture and industry.

But on its part, India, reiterated that the new goal posts cannot be set. "The discourse cannot be changed..The developing or the poor countries will not to be asked to pay more price than what commitments have been made (in 2001)," Sharma said.

While India hoped at the beginning of this year that a multilateral trade-opening agreement was possible in 2011, " unfortunately it was not materialised. There have been disappointments..." Sharma said.

India and other developing nations are defending their agricultural markets to protect millions of subsistence farmers. Also, New Delhi is willing to take less-than-reciprocal trade opening obligation for industrial products.

The US and other developed countries, however, seek more market access in developing nations, including India.

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