More reports on: Economy - general

India left empty-handed at Nairobi WTO meet: experts

news
22 December 2015

Civil society groups and trade experts on Monday criticised the government on the outcome of the World Trade Organisation's Nairobi ministerial meeting, saying India has got "nothing" in the meet.

They said the Indian negotiating team was not able to stand firm on its demands related to the special safeguard mechanism, new issues being pushed by developed nations and on public stockholding for food security purposes.

"India has got nothing out of the Nairobi meet and it has also conceded ground on specific areas," Biswajit Dhar, a trade expert and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said.

He said the decisions on completely eliminating export subsidies by 2023 will further aggravate the crisis in the sugar sector.

"The opening in the text for new issues is also an indication that now the US and EU will aggressively push for elements from the trans-pacific partnership and trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership into the WTO agenda. India will once again be on the back foot," he told reporters in Delhi.

Sharing these views, convener of the National Working Group on patent laws and WTO, Dinesh Abroi, said the Indin Parliament should urgently debate the "commissions and omissions" of the government at Nairobi.

"We demand the government to immediately prepare a white paper on the WTO negotiations to stop further damage to the erosion of development policy space," Abroi said.

Senior researcher at the Third World Network Ranja Sengupta said India got nothing on demands for finding a permanent solution for food security issue and special safeguard mechanism.

"The introduction of new issues such as investment and government procurement will have adverse implications for our agriculture sector as well," she said, adding the Indian commerce minister "did not appear in the important meeting on SSM there and did not say anything on public stock holding in the agriculture meeting at Nairobi".

Afsar Jafri from Focus on Global Earth said, "If Bali 2013 was a mistake, Nairobi was a disaster. India agreed to the trade facilitation agreement unilaterally without getting anything in return".

Jafri said this meeting would be remembered as the graveyard for development concerns and multilateralism.

Further, Abroi said, "At Nairobi, the dismal failure of the Modi government to defend legally the rights of the people and other developing countries is nothing but an abject surrender".

He said after all the noise the government earlier made on Bali decisions on public stock holding, India has given in at Nairobi unilaterally without asking for quid-pro-quo in terms of a permanent solution to public stock holding programme.

"The Doha Development round is dead in the water. The US and EU refused to allow negotiations on the issue of their own subsidies for agriculture. The declaration adopted at Nairobi is effectively the death knell of the Doha Round," he said.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has expressed "thorough" disappointment over non-reaffirmation to conclude 14-year-old Doha Round pacts. The five-day WTO meeting managed to win a commitment to allow developing nations to use special safeguards to protect farmers against import surges.





 search domain-b
  go