With the stage set for a mini-ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in New Delhi this week, a leading industry lobby in India has urged the member countries to prepare an action plan for the early conclusion of the Doha Round trade talks.
If the world leaders reach a consensus on the Doha Round, it will boost global exports by $185 billion, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said in a report.
"We urge the participating ministers to use this opportunity for readying a blueprint with timelines. This would be critical for completing the Doha talks within the present deadline of next year," FICCI president Harsh Pati Singhania said.
The mini-ministerial meeting, scheduled for Sep 3-4, would re-engage a large number of key players after a gap of nearly nine months and inject a fresh momentum to the limping multilateral trade talks, the federation said.
The Doha talks began in 2001 but were stalled last year after countries disagreed on proposed tariff and subsidy cuts.
RV Kanoria, chairman of the FICCI task-force on WTO issues, said, "The global economic crisis has not only made the goal of concluding Doha Round more challenging, it has also made it more imperative."
"Reaching a balanced multilateral agreement would bring greater, predictability, transparency and stability into global trade, which is so important in today's scenario of economic slowdown."
Commenting on non-agricultural market access (NAMA), Singhania said sectoral tariff negotiations should remain non-mandatory.
FICCI further said there has to be faster and substantive developments in negotiations related to the services sector.
Indian professionals and service providers expect significant gains from the Doha Round in terms of enhanced market access in major export destinations, it added.
In 2008, India's share was less than 3 percent of the $3.7-trillion global exports of commercial services, the chamber said.