India on Tuesday asked developed countries to return to the negotiating table of World Trade Organisation (WTO) with a spirit of sacrifice to bolster economies of poor nations.
“There would be no market access for the developed countries unless this round makes healthy economies in the developing world,” Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said.
The trade talks held in Geneva collapsed last month after India and other developing countries insisted that there should be enough scope to protect subsistence farmers and small industries from being submerged by a flood of cheap imports from the US and the European Union.
“It (WTO) is not about increasing the prosperity of the developed world but reducing the poverty of the developing countries,” Nath said.
WTO director general Pascal Lamy, who is on a two-day visit to India to revive the stalled negotiations, said developing countries would get the lion’s share of gains from scheduled commitments.
Both Nath and Lamy were addressing industry captains in meetings organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
“If the current round had come to a successful conclusion last month, import tariffs would have come down by half, resulting in a saving of $150 billion,” Lamy said.
“The developing countries would have contributed a third of the sacrifice, but benefited to the extent of two thirds by way of savings,” the WTO director general said.