Tuesday Aug 28 2001

Our Bureau

CLEARLY stating India’s stance for the Doha ministerial conference in November, minister of state for commerce and industry Digvijay Singh said that India will press for review and conclusion of the Uruguay Round-mandated agenda and oppose injection of new issues.

“The Doha conference should give policy direction to the mandated agenda, review which implementation issues have been resolved in terms of the General Council decision of May 2000 and address major current issues like Trips and public health. Any move to inject further issues runs the risk of overloading the agenda, thereby making it unsustainable,” said Singh at a seminar organised by Ficci and Consumer Unity and Trust Society.

The main category of new issues being pushed into the WTO agenda includes international investment rules, competition policy, transparency in government procurement, global coherence, trade facilitation, industrial tariffs and environment.

“No prime facie case has been established on the necessity or relevance of the proposed new issues into WTO framework, nor it is cogently shown that the developing countries are going to definitely benefit from the negotiations in the new areas,” Singh said.

Singh added that ever since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, developing countries continue to experience great difficulties in capitalising fully on the benefits they expected to derive from their participation in the multilateral trading system.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, however, criticised the government for opposing a new round of negotiations at the WTO.