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India hits back at US remarks on "advanced developing nations"

Rebuffing the US remark that advanced developing countries were "masking their narrow interest" in the Doha talks.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2008 06:41 PM IST

Rebuffing the US remark that advanced developing countries were "masking their narrow interest" in the Doha talks, India on Thursday said majority of WTO members know who is creating roadblocks for a trade deal.

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab had said on Wednesday that advanced developing countries were serving their narrow interests by claiming to speak for rest of the developing world.

Asked to comment on Schwab's remarks, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said in New Delhi, "I don't think this requires a response, because 140 countries know which country is the blockage."

Without naming India and China, Schwab had said the "continued unwillingness of a handful of advanced developing countries to make meaningful market access contributions" is of particular concern. "It is basically the case of the elephant hiding behind the mice," Schwab had said.

The latest proposals on opening global market for agriculture and industrial products have been rejected by India, which has sent a high-level team to Geneva for talks.

India's objections relate to livelihood concern for millions of farmers and upcoming industries. It wants enough protection for farmers against cheap imports and flexible duty structure to safeguard its interest while opening its market.

Developing countries, led by India, China and Brazil, have been putting pressure on rich nations like US to cut farm subsidies on the premise that they distort trade and put farmers in developing countries at a disadvantage.

The Doha Round of trade talks, launched in 2001, was to be concluded by 2004. The talks have remained inconclusive due to differences between rich and developing nations over reduction in farm subsidies and industrial tariffs.

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