Terming the recent preliminary negotiations held at Geneva to re-energise the World Trade Organisation Doha Round talks as ‘substantial’, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Chief Negotiators and the Chairs of Agriculture and NAMA have drawn up a three-month working plan which was a positive indication of the resolve to have a rule based multilateral trading regime in place. “We are looking for some serious talking in November when the Ministerial meeting is scheduled to be held so that the basic gaps on various issues are somewhat reduced or closed. India has taken the lead and the New Delhi inter-ministerial meet gave the necessary push to re-start the entire stalled process. We will not compromise on issues of livelihood and food security for the poor,” he added. Asserting that satisfactory progress had been made during the re-initiated talks from September 14, Mr. Sharma said issues, including agriculture concerns, Non-Agriculture Market Access (NAMA) and services were discussed at length by all the negotiators including that from India. “Our team apprised the meet about India’s stated position and the concerns. We will work at the Ministerial meeting in end-November to close the gaps with serious talks.

Mr. Sharma said India would go into negotiations with an open mind: “One does not go into multilateral negotiations with a “frozen mind.” I will be meeting U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk some time next month and discuss important issues including the WTO talks progress”.

Mr. Sharma ruled out any further stimulus package for exporters stating that they had to look for a diversification of their portfolio.

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