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FICCI backs WTO talks walk-out

The federation says the country's trade minister was right to walk out of WTO talks in Germany, arguing he has a duty to protect poor farmers.

business Updated: Jun 22, 2007 15:25 IST

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Friday said the country's trade minister was right to walk out of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Germany, arguing he had a duty to protect poor farmers.

FICCI said it "appreciated the constructive role and engagement of India" in the talks on a global trade deal, now thrown into doubt following the latest spat.

"India's stand is consistent with the objective of our country to have an inclusive growth that will take care of the special needs of our agriculture sector which is the most vulnerable sector of our economy," FICCI said in a statement.

Negotiations in the German city of Potsdam between the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India -- known as the Group of Four -- collapsed on Thursday after Brazil and India walked out.

The two have been pushing for rich Western nations to reduce farm subsidies in return for opening their tightly-protected markets to industrial products and services.

According to FICCI, "India could not have afforded to dilute its stand in agriculture as agriculture constitutes the backbone of the rural livelihood security system of the country."

It also said it was up to developed countries "to show engagement, flexibility and political will for a developmental outcome of the Doha Round" of talks launched in the Qatari capital in 2001.