Signalling a “breakthrough” in the deadlock over global trade talks, stuck since July last year, the New Delhi Ministerial Meeting on re-energising the trade talks on Friday announced the resumption of Doha Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks from September 14. Trade Ministers of key WTO member countries agreed here that the negotiations should be taken forward.

"We have reached an agreement to intensify the Doha Round negotiations. The impasse has been broken. All theparticipating countries agreed by strong consensus that the chief negotiators and the senior officials from the WTO countries will meet in Geneva on September 14 to re-start and re-energise the trade talks, for which India had taken to the lead,” ministerial meeting chairman and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said at a press conference after the conclusion of the two-day conclave.

At the talks in Geneva in July last year, India and others opposed agriculture subsidies offered by rich nations to their farmers on the ground that it distorted trade by making the produce of the developing countries costly.

Draft reports

Mr. Sharma said the negotiations would resume on the basis of two draft reports agreed to in December 2008 pertaining to agriculture and Non Agriculture Marketing Access (NAMA).

It was also unanimously re-affirmed to conclude the Doha Round within 2010. “The Ministers of almost 35 countries also agreed to review the progress of the talks after three months and do all that is possible to wrap up things by 2010. Much has been invested in the negotiations of Doha Round and it was time to take things further.”

Asserting that development remained at the heart of the Doha Round, the Minister said the problems and concerns of the poor countries had to be addressed and a rule based multi-lateral trading system put in place. The legitimate concerns of the poor, developing countries and the Least Development Countries (LDCs) have to be taken into account and addressed.

“It was also felt not to go for any kind of protectionist measures and it will only deepen the recession and hamper the process of economic recovery. The negotiators from India will have a clear mandate,” he asserted.

Mr. Sharma said the Ministers also agreed that chairs of the negotiating groups on agriculture and NAMA would be requested to evolve issue-based work plans in consultation with chief negotiators or senior officials to intensify engagement for completing the negotiations.

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