No change in India's stand in trade talks: Anand Sharma | delhi | Hindustan Times
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No change in India's stand in trade talks: Anand Sharma

delhi Updated: Dec 03, 2009 19:17 IST
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India's position on agriculture and industry at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations has not changed and is aimed at protecting its farmers and small enterprises, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said.

"There is no change in India's negotiating position in agriculture and non-agriculture market access," Sharma said on Wednesday evening in Geneva, the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

Sharma led the India delegation at the three-day WTO ministerial conference attended by trade ministers of 153 member-countries, which ended Wednesday.

Addressing the media later, he said though the conference was not intended as a negotiating forum, it "provided a useful opportunity for different groups and caucuses to assess the direction of the negotiations".

The minister said his first priority would be to conclude the Doha round of talks on liberalising world trade, which have floundered since its launch at the Qatari capital in 2001, as quickly as possible.

Sharma also addressed a ministerial session of the negotiating committee of the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP), which was established in 1988 as a framework for the exchange of trade preferences among developing countries.

"India attaches a great deal of importance to the GSTP process for optimising South-South synergies and expanding trade among developing countries," he said.

India exchanged tariff concessions with 14 countries in the first GSTP Round in 1989.

Sharma also met his counterparts from Argentina, Malaysia and Australia, during which a range of issues, including the Doha round of trade talks, were discussed.