July 12, 2006, New Delhi, Press Release

Suggesting a three pronged strategy to carry forward development thrust of the Doha Round of global trade talks, CUTS International has asserted that the burden of leadership remains on the developed nations who have more to give.

It is imperative for nations across the globe to ensure that the Doha Round is not declared sick so as to avoid another 9/11 and the onus for this lies on the developed nations who can actually deliver the Doha Round by being less mercantile and ensure that the poor are lifted out of their poverty through liberalization of trade and cutting out of farm subsidies in the rich world, which mainly benefit the fat corporates, Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International said today.

Pascal Lamy should cajole heads of governments of key countries to move and spell out their bottom lines to him. In the dog-eat-dog world of trade negotiations in Geneva, ministers could not have spelt out what their countries can do at the maximum because, often offers made by ministers/delegations can become binding with other parties then wanting more than what has been offered, Mr Mehta suggested.

The Director General should also address the issue of high protection which is given to farmers in developed countries and how it affects the farmers in the poor countries.

Alternately, since the fundamental issues of agriculture, NAMA and services cannot be settled, WTO Members should consider what can be agreed upon. The controversial issues can be left on the back burner and it is time to turn the Hong Kong declaration on its head and straighten out negotiations in other areas, such as WTO rules, TRIPs, trade and the environment, trade facilitation, aid for trade and the Integrated Framework, all of which are crucial for developing countries and have been unaddressed during negotiations, Mehta suggested.

Addressing the archaic customs procedures should be the centre piece of the final Doha deal. It is not important as to what is traded but how it is traded is important, Pradeep Mehta said.