WTO

The US cotton industry has expressed its concern over subsidies being provided by the Indian Government to its cotton growing farmers, alleging it is in violation of the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) norms.

The US and India, which have strong differences in the World Trade Organization negotiations, on the issues of protection to farmers and nascent industries in the developing countries, see common ground at least on one count. In early April, when a report of the WTO estimated a global tariff cut of $150 billion through conclusion of Doha Round, India sought to know the details. Indian officials in Geneva, the WTO headquarters, found support from unexpected quarters.

World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy’s decision to join the Board of Directors of Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company has raised a serious conflict of interest, trade envoys have said.

Despite Indian initiative to re-energise the Doha Round in September and earnest hoping that “end-game” was near, it seems that recent Geneva ministerial saw exactly the opposite. The outcome of recent WTO Ministerial Meeting at Geneva was not substantive to resolve differences to free global commerce.

“Though the ministers of the WTO member countries are shouting that we must conclude the Doha round, when it comes to negotiations they are still not flexible,” said Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar.

The impasse over WTO Doha Development Round negotiations has been broken in the meeting of trade ministers of 35 countries here on Friday, with the representatives deciding to take the negotiations further ahead from Geneva July 2008 meet. The basis of the negotiations will be the text issued by WTO director general Pascal Lamy in December 2008.

Trade Ministers of 30 nations on Friday decided to resume this month global trade talks after an over year-long deadlock, with India's initiative for bringing in a sense of urgency bearing fruit.

"We have reached an agreement to intensify the negotiations. It has been a breakthrough... If I can use this expression 'impasse' in resuming the negotiations has been broken...," said Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who chaired the two-day meeting that concluded today.

The WTO Secretariat has opened the accreditation process for journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) wishing to attend the Seventh Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Geneva on 30 November-2 December 2009.

http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news_e.htm#bkmk1050