India on Thursday rebuffed the rich nations for demanding that the world's largest democracy should take increased responsibility in the Doha round trade talks asserting that it would not open its markets beyond its obligation.

“No market access above the level of what is there under the present guidelines can be given for free. If countries agree to give, they have to be paid for it. This is the language of WTO,'' India's chief negotiator at the World Trade Organization and Additional Secretary in the Commerce Ministry D. K. Mittal said at a seminar organised by the FICCI on “WTO Doha Round negotiations: the way forward and where does the balance lie?''

Mr. Mittal said the Indian economy had gained the status of an advanced developing nation more because of its domestic consumption. Advanced countries, parti- cularly the U.S., had been arguing that emerging economies like India, China and Brazil should be treated as advanced developing countries and be asked to take bigger responsibilities in terms of market opening for reaching a global trade deal.

Mr. Mittal said that while India had made progress in its economic development, it still had 300 million people who did not get two square meals a day.

In his speech, WTO Deputy Director General Harsha Vardhana Singh said: “We need a balance between the concerns of the exporting countries and importing countries. One side does not want the instrument of safeguard mechanism to be used as disguise form of protection, and the other wants to have a simple mechanism to address the concern of the vulnerable production in its agriculture.''

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