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India flays rich nations over barriers

India demands rich nations to allow 'real' access to the products of the developing nations to their markets.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 13:31 IST

Lambasting the developed nations for trying to entrench imbalances and inequities in the international trading system, India has demanded that the rich reduce agriculture subsidies and allow "real" access to the products of the developing nations to their markets.

Agriculture is more than trade and has vital ramifications for developing countries, India's Ambassador to the United Nations Nirupam Sen said addressing a UN committee on Tuesday.

"Food security and rural livelihood are of immense economic relevance and have a socio political dimension in many developing nations," he said, warning against restrictive practices.

Regretting that the developed nations have not fulfilled the understanding given when agriculture was brought into the multilateral trade negotiations that "trade distorting" subsidies would be phased out in a definite time-frame, Sen said minimising vulnerabilities of poor farmers should be the world's collective priority.

"Demanding market access from developing countries, which displace low income and subsistence to farmers to satisfy commercial interests cannot be supported," he said, stressing that the overarching principle of special and differential treatment remains a categorical imperative and is the underlying basis of the position of developing nations.

Emphasising that high tariff, specific duties and non-tariff barriers are hampering industrialisation of the developing nations, Sen pointed out that non tariff barriers alone cost the poor countries 100 billion dollars, almost twice the current level of Official Development Assistance.