Seminar on ‘WTO and its impact on the Kerala Economy’ begins

States which have to bear the impact of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) negotiations should form “anchor bodies” to voice their demands and concerns at the international level, Planning Board Vice-Chairman K.M. Chandrasekhar has said.

Inaugurating a two-day seminar on ‘WTO and its impact on the Kerala Economy’ organised under the joint aegis of the Institute of Management in Government (IMG), Centre for WTO Studies and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, Mr. Chandrasekhar said that IMG could ideally become such a forum of Kerala as the State had to bear the impact of the negotiations. WTO was in limbo at present.

A decade ago WTO had played a critical role and it had created great excitement among the intelligentsia and people of different genre. Various ideas and concerns were raised about the future of the negotiations.

India had developed a motley group of likeminded developing nations, including Pakistan and Egypt to put up a resistance. But during the Doha round of talks, India got isolated. Subsequently China joined the block of resistance. The thrust of the negotiations was on agriculture.

The United States and the European Community then finalised an agreement protecting their mutual interests. The tenor of the negotiations then changed and Brazil and India worked out a counter text with the support of other nations. South Africa, Thailand, Egypt and such others formed the G-20 block of nations.

This block held on during the Cancun meet and the Doha round of negotiations continued to remain incomplete. This was despite the developing countries’ interest to complete the round. India had a pivotal role in the negotiations. In this context, the States which had to bear the outcome of the talks should have “anchor bodies” to raise their demands, he said.

IMG director Nivedita P. Haran welcomed the gathering. Abhijit Das, professor and head of the Centre for WTO Studies, and Sajal Mathur of the centre addressed the seminar.