Trade ministers of India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) and China met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos on Friday and reviewed the current status of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations and exchanged views on the need to conclude it at the earliest.

The Indian delegation was led by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma while China was represented by its Trade Minister Chen Deming, Brazil by Antonio Patriota and South Africa by Rob Davies.

All the ministers of IBSA nations stressed on the need to conclude the Doha Round of negotiations at the earliest and put in place a equitable trading regime. The ministers recalled the ‘political message' issued by their leaders during the G-20 Seoul Summit and reiterated their commitment to the negotiations, according to an official statement issued here.

The ministers recognised that, although the July 2008 negotiating package embodies a careful balance of concessions strenuously negotiated since the launching of the Round in 2001, it should be improved to strengthen its development dimension, the statement says.

In particular, the ministers noted that, under the existing draft modalities, developing countries would be required to offer a level of contribution without precedent by any member in any of the previous negotiating rounds. The ministers also agreed that such contributions were not being reciprocated by developed countries, some of whom still seek further exceptions and flexibilities to continue with their existing trade barriers and trade distorting policies, adversely affecting the developing countries' interests.

“The ministers believe that any effort to finalise the Doha Round cannot ignore past trade-offs nor require new disproportionate and unilateral concessions from developing countries, ignoring the existing mandate,'' the statement adds. In this context, the IBSA trade ministers cautioned against demands that clearly change the nature and scope of negotiations, jeopardising the present efforts to conclude the Doha Development Round.

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