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Updated: October 7, 2013 22:46 IST

G-33 proposal deserves full engagement, Anand Sharma tells WTO chief

Sujay Mehdudia
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Anand Sharma
Anand Sharma

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is learnt to have conveyed to the Director-General of WTO, Roberto Avezedo, that the G-33 proposal addressing a critical dimension of the development concerns of developing countries deserves full engagement to reach an outcome in Bali.

“India has worked hard and tirelessly to facilitate outcomes in the WTO right from the beginning of the Doha Round and even more so in the efforts to finalise some meaningful deliverables for Bali,” Mr. Sharma told the WTO DG during the closed-door meeting here.

He said, in the WTO, the G-33 coalition of developing countries worked very hard on a proposal which addressed a critical dimension of the development concerns of developing countries.

“There is currently very little in the trade rules to squarely address the issue of food security. The G-33 proposal addresses this lacuna, and deserves full engagement to reach an outcome in Bali. An outcome on the G-33 proposal would be an important contribution by the WTO towards addressing the challenges of food security in developing countries. Updating the rules would greatly help these countries in carrying out such operations without defaulting on their commitments,’’ he is learnt to have conveyed.

Mr. Sharma is also understood to have told the visiting WTO DG that the LDC issues also merit urgent and active attention, so that we can move some steps closer to their fuller integration into international trade. Without this, any early harvest package would be incomplete and unacceptable.

“India is firmly with the LDCs on their proposals. India has already implemented Duty Free Quota Free market access for LDCs. A proposal to increase coverage of items under the duty free list to around 97 per cent (from 85 per cent at present) of the total tariff lines at 6 digit level and to further liberalise the Rules of Origin is under the active consideration of the Government,’’ he said.

Peace Clause

Referring to the Peace Clause issue, the WTO DG told reporters that: “Let me clarify this. I didn’t say that India should agree to that. All I said is that we have made progress from a situation where members did not want to talk about the issue. Now we have in Geneva an environment where I can’t say that it’s fully there, but there is a growing understanding that this is something that needs to be on the table. And that we have to find a long term solution for that.

“That sentiment is there. Anybody who has been following the conversations in Geneva, from the beginning to today, will realise that we made very concrete advances on this issue and that we are moving in a direction which recognises the legitimacy and the importance of food security concerns in countries like India and other developing countries. We are going to work intensely between now and the Ministerial conference to find a solution for that.’’

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