India remains committed to the establishment of a rule-based multilateral trading regime, and this is the reason why it is hosting the WTO Trade Ministers’ Conference here on September 3 and 4, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Tuesday.

Addressing the Heads of Mission here, Mr. Sharma said the Doha Development Round saw intense negotiations and several ups and downs. The ministerial meeting was aimed at energising the process and creating a rainbow coalition of countries committed to a fair and equitable trade regime. “While we go to the negotiating table, we remain conscious of the interests of millions of our farmers, the interests of our small and medium enterprises, and we remain committed to the aspirations of our booming services industry to get greater market access. I remain optimistic that globally we will be able to find a way forward. It is equally important for countries of the West to acknowledge the historical imbalances which have queered the pitch for the developing world,” he said.

Mr. Sharma said: “It is time to diversify our markets to buffer the impact of the slowdown and take us back on high growth trajectory. Africa and Latin America afford a huge opportunity, and it shall be my endeavour to intensify our economic engagement with the countries of this region. Greater synergies are required between our missions and the Ministry of Commerce for this purpose. I have already directed my team to prepare a strategy paper for Africa and Latin America.” He said India would like to encourage companies to establish manufacturing bases, bring in technology and, at the same time, create employment. Investment promotion required close partnership with the private sector, and India would welcome high-value investments that helped in exports. “We have noticed the growing tendency of protectionism among countries of the West. It is my firm belief that such measures are delaying economic recovery and prolonging recession. It is the time in which the leadership will be tested to break down barriers and not to erect new ones.”

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