New Delhi: WTO Director General Pascal Lamy today asked India to offer concessions on the sensitive issue of agriculture for the successful conclusion of the stalled Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations.
Earlier in the day Lamy had a half hour meeting with prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to apprise him of the efforts by the US and the EU to resume talks. After the meeting, he said that in his opinion WTO was very much on Dr Singh's agenda.
Lamy, is meeting major world leaders in an attempt to break the WTO logjam. (See: ) He said major trading nations and blocks like the US and EU have started looking at making new offers and India should also re-examine its stand.
The meeting had collapsed as key members, including the US and the EU remained stuck on their positions on agriculture subsidies.
After meeting commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath, Lamy said, "My understanding is that US and EU have started testing new positions. Something is cooking but it is not at the point of being served. It also needs Indian spices. Apart from India, Brazil, the US and EU, other chefs like Japan and Australia have to contribute to it," he added.
Lamy said opening up the Indian agricultural sector for imports would not make the lives of Indian farmers more difficult. He said the roadblock in agriculture negotiations need to be overcome for the Doha Round to move forward.
He said that both developed countries and developing countries would need to take tariff cuts though greater responsibility would be on rich nations. He said even after the concessions, nations will have flexibilities.
Nath said trade ministers of 30 key trading nations are expected to meet in Davos next week to set out modalities for re-starting the Doha Round of talks and hoped that the process is started and timelines are set for completion of the round.
Nath said while India too wants the Doha Round to be completed soon it would not compromise with the interests of its subsistence farmers. He said that India would do whatever it could to ensure that WTO progresses but the content of the round was very important.
also see : World
trade talks collapse
seeks support to revive WTO Doha talks