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Doha round talks collapse, India refuses to budge

Ministers of India, Brazil, the US and the EU fail to hammer out a consensus on the issue of farm subsidies, reports Gaurav Choudhary.

business Updated: Jun 21, 2007 21:10 IST
Gaurav Choudhary

Negotiations on the World Trade Organisation’s stalled Doha round reached a deadlock in Potsdam, Germany, as trade ministers of India, Brazil, the US and the EU failed to hammer out a consensus on the contentious issue of farm subsidies.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said India refused to stand down on its original position of market access for agricultural goods.

"Talks have failed as India refused to dilute its stand on agricultural market access. There was no convergence and I made it very clear that India would not compromise,” Nath said over phone from Germany.

India maintained its stand that agriculture was a “way of life” and there were issues of livelihood security that needed to be addressed through the mechanism of special products and special safeguards.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said it was useless to continue the discussions based on the numbers that were on the table. "It is a setback, let us not hide it," he added.

Nath said the livelihoods of millions of subsistence farmers in India was the core issue that guided India’s negotiation position. This is entirely consistent with the mandate of the Doha round.

The Doha round, launched six years ago, is dubbed the development round of trade talks and has primarily faced a stalemate over agricultural trade.

Nath, however, maintained that talks were not dead and the multilateral process would continue.

Trade ministers of the G-6 countries--India, US, EU, Australia, Japan and Brazil-- have set a new deadline for successfully concluding the Doha negotiations by the year-end.