WTO

India has said the new WTO text ignoring livelihood concerns in agriculture is "totally unacceptable" and the country will thwart rich nations' efforts to "divide and rule" developing countries on the issue of tariff cuts on industrial products under Doha trade talks.

The latest World Trade Organisation (WTO) draft on Non Agricultural Market Access (Nama) has included the topic of liberalising market access to remanufactured goods (second hand items), cheap imports of which could adversely impact the Indian industry, especially the auto sector. The Indian government will oppose the move in the negotiations, which are likely to start next week.

The two new drafts for negotiations in agriculture and industrial goods (NAMA) issued by the WTO on May 19 this year is a mockery of the current situation. The two drafts do not accommodate the concerns of the developing world.

The World Trade Organization rejected on Monday a complaint brought by the US against India over duties on alcoholic beverages.

The US had claimed that the layers of custom duties imposed by India on wines and spirits were in breach of international trade rules.

In the conclusion of its ruling, the WTO's dispute panel said that the US has "failed to establish that the additional duty on alcoholic liquor is inconsistent" with India's WTO commitments.

As WTO trade talks on cutting farm subsidies and industrial tariffs reach a critical juncture, farm leaders in India have said the country should withdraw from the Doha negotiations if the livelihood concerns of its farmers are not addressed in the Round.

The head of the World Trade Organization on Wednesday criticized US legislation giving hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies to farmers and said only a global trade deal could redress the balance.

“Those who criticize US agricultural policy, quite rightly in my view, need a WTO deal if they want to change things and not just criticize,” WTO director general Pascal Lamy said.

After more than six years of troubled negotiations, the Doha Development Round, which people were made to believe is aimed at extending the benefits of globalization to developing countries, is heading towards what many feared would be a disastrous outcome for developing countries.

Pascal Lamy
Forgive this brief intrusion into your busy days, but I thought it prudent to update you on our Doha Round negotiations in advance of your meeting later this month in Geneva.

Press Release Distributed at Dharna and Demonstration on July 12, 2008 against Indian Government’s surrender at WTO compromising interests of Indian Farmers, Industries and Fishermen

India on Wednesday blamed the rich nations for their rigid stand on subsidies but said collapse of global trade talks in Geneva should be considered as a "pause" and not a "breakdown" of WTO negotiations.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said that India sought strong safeguards for its farmers from heavily subsidised imports from the developed nations which themselves have resorted to restricting trade for helping their agriculture sector.