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Statement of Mr. Kamal Nath Minister of Commerce & Industry

New Delhi
July 25, 2006 

Mr Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that there can be no compromise on the interests of farmers or infant industry in the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, adding that trade should be looked at through the prism of development. Briefing newsmen here today on his return from Geneva, the Minister underlined that at recent meetings of the WTO, India and other developing countries had stressed the need to have substantial and effective cuts in trade distorting domestic support of the developed countries. 

“To address India’s core concerns and interests, including protecting the interests of farmers, we have formed alliances with like-minded developing countries, which include the G-20 on agriculture and the G-33 on special products and the special safeguard mechanism, and the NAMA-11 on industrial tariffs. Specific and detailed proposals have been made by these groups in the negotiations. India has also been playing a key role in further strengthening the developing country coalitions by bringing together G-20, G-33, African group, ACP countries and the LDCs to reinforce each other’ position on issues of mutual interest”, Mr. Kamal Nath said in a statement in response to a question in Lok Sabha today.

A meeting of the G-6 Ministers was held at Geneva on 23rd and 24th July 2006 and there was no convergence on the core issues of substantial reduction of trade distorting support and other development issues. It has, therefore, been decided to suspend negotiations, he said. 

In NAMA (non-agricultural market access) developing countries are being asked to reduce their duties to levels which would threaten their infant industries. “We cannot agree to reduction of duties on industrial goods without adequate safeguards”, he said. 

“This Round is not about the perpetuation of the structural flaws in global trade especially in agriculture. This Round is not about developing countries opening their markets for developed countries for their subsidised agricultural products. This Round is not about negotiating livelihood security and subsistence of hundreds of millions of farmers. This Round is not about preventing the emergence of industries in developing countries. This Round is about opening new markets for developing countries especially in developed countries”, he had said last evening in a statement to the WTO.