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Monday, Dec 16, 2019

India is among 'big brothers' of WTO: Lamy

India, China and Brazil have come a long way in global trade negotiations emerging as 'big brothers', WTO chief Pascal Lamy has said.

business Updated: Aug 17, 2008 14:15 IST


India, China and Brazil have come a long way in global trade negotiations emerging as "big brothers", WTO chief Pascal Lamy has said.

Lamy, who was here last week in his attempt to restart the Doha talks which collapsed in Geneva in July, said "Among the big brothers (in WTO) are the big developing countries. China, India and Brazil (are the) three big brothers," Lamy told PTI.

He said the three countries, along with key players like Australia, EU and the US constitute the world of today. Trade ministers from India, Brazil and China were part of the core group of Seven, constituted by Lamy during the intensive nine-day talks held in the WTO headquarters.

The WTO chief referred to the growing influence of the three among the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies when asked as to how difficult he finds it to deal with the influential players like the US and EU.

He said things have changed in the last 13 years since the end of the Uruguay Round in 1995 when a quad of the US, EU, Canada and Japan used to be pre-dominant players in the negotiations.

"When I started in this business in the end of the Uruguay round, there was a quad...US, EU, Canada and Japan. The world has certainly changed. (Now) when I have to take the G-7, which is the smaller group Canada is not there anymore. Austarlia has joined and you have got three more China, India and Brazil. That is the world of today," he said.

It is a tough call for a head of a multilateral body to be seen as unbiased and fair especially when he is dealing with 153 members whose economic and political stature has a range of the most developed nation and a least developed country. MORE

Asked how difficult it is to maintain an image of being fair and unbiased, Lamy said, "That is what I want to be and I think I am recognised as this (fair and unbiased). Nobody is perfect, but in my position...Given the sort of role as a facilitator, given my role in the dispute settlement system...I am exercised to listening to various sounds, interests, quarters."

That is my duty. It is a duty which I exercise because the members asked me to do it".

During his two-day stay in India, Lamy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, besides holding discussions with industry bodies.

His visit here would be followed by one to Washington this week where Lamy would try and get a "political message" on the developed country's willingness to bridge differences and return to the negotiating table in Geneva.

Talks in Geneva between 30 key trade ministers collapsed particularly after the US and India, failed to agree over operationalisation of "special safeguard mechanism", that would have enabled the developing countries to raise tariffs to protect poor farmers to counter surge in imports.

While US wanted the protection trigger to be used after 40 per cent surge in imports, India said it was willing to go up to 10 per cent.

There are indications of another meeting of ministers in September. Lamy has been keen to conclude the seven year old Doha talks, which have already missed several deadlines since the its launched in 2001, by December this year.