Union minister of commerce, industry and textiles Anand Sharma today made a strong pitch for a balanced package for the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on trade facilitation, keeping the interest of least developed countries (LDCs) and developing nations at its core.
In a frank exchange with key ambassadors to WTO in Geneva today, Sharma demanded that an internal balance in the trade facilitation proposal be made in the roadmap to the Bali ministerial.
Sharma said that while India was not opposed to trade facilitation, there was a need for an internal balance in the trade facilitation proposal with adequate special and differential treatment for developing countries and LDCS and small and vulnerable economies. He also argued for providing technical and financial support to such economies so that they benefit from trade facilitation.
The minister also supported an LDC package, including duty-free, quota-free market access, which countries like India and China have already implemented, as part of the Bali package.
Since emerging economies have to carry a disproportionate burden of poverty and huge income disparities, Sharma said, they merit a special and preferential treatment.
The minister mentioned that India strongly endorsed the G-33 proposal for food security and flexibility in their public stock holding operations for public distribution system. The interest of subsistence farmers in developing and poor countries have to be recognised and protected, he said.
Taking note of emerging plurilateral arrangements, the minister strongly emphasised the need to uphold the centrality of multilateralism and WTO as an institution for creating a rule-based global trading regime.