Expressing disappointment over impasse in WTO Doha talks for a global trade deal, India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) on Saturday underscored the need for resisting protectionism in the current economic scenario.

“Global economic conditions are challenging, this is almost fourth year of recession. The only way is to engage more and work for a multilateral trade regime,” Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here.

At the IBSA meeting, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual event, the trade ministers said that developed countries had caused distortions by high-level of protection in the form of tariffs and subsidies in agriculture.

These distortions “continue to undermine the development prospects of developing countries, especially the least developed among them,” an IBSA declaration said.

It said, “The ministers expressed deep disappointment at the current impasse in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations...”

The IBSA ministers met ahead of the informal meeting of important WTO members, including India, U.S. and South Africa.

Besides Mr. Sharma, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and Rob Davis of South Africa were present.

The meeting hosted by the Swiss authorities was also attended by Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Pascal Lamy.

U.S. Representative Ron Kirk said “We need to have a new start and have a beginning towards putting something concrete on the table.... I am hopeful.”

Mr. Kirk’s remarks are important given the impression among the developing countries in the midst of slowdown and the U.S. elections, America does not seem to be keen on pushing for opening up of its economy.