KAMAL NATH MAKES PRESENTATION ON WTO BEFORE HEADS OF GOVERNMENTS AT CHOGM HAS INFORMAL MEETINGS WITH TONY BLAIR AND OTHER COMMONWEALTH LEADERS
Date : 26 Nov 2005
Location : New Delhi
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, made a presentation on WTO issues before the Heads of Governments in Malta last evening. Shri Nath is representing India at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2005 at Valetta in Malta. Shri Kamal Nath was requested to make the presentation as he was the only Trade Minister present at CHOGM and hence, it fell on him to make a presentation on all World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues. His presentation was greatly appreciated and formed the basis of discussions on international trade issues at CHOGM.
The request for the presentation was made to Shri Nath in the backdrop of strong protests by the Prime Minister of Guyana as well as Prime Ministers of Jamaica and Barbados against the recent decision of the European Union (EU) on sugar which, they said, would adversely affect the interests of Caribbean countries and aggravate poverty. This set off a huge debate on the subject at CHOGM and all proceedings were stalled till the Prime Minister of Malta Dr Lawrence Gonzi as Chairman of CHOGM agreed not to issue the Communiqué of CHOGM being held in Malta from 25-27 November, 2005 till the last day of the Conference and also agreed to devote one entire day (half-day yesterday and half-day today) to discuss international trade and WTO issues. The presentation by Shri Nath on WTO followed thereafter.
Shri Nath had an informal meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair on sidelines of the CHOGM and he also informally met John Howard Prime Minister of Australia; Ms. Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand; Mr. Shaukat Aziz of Prime Minister; Pakistan; Mr. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados; and Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, Mauritius in Malta yesterday. He also had discussions at a Round Table with President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa of Zambia and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and others.
Earlier, as part of India’s commitment to the Commonwealth, Shri Kamal Nath while addressing the CHOGM’s Executive Session announced a special contribution of one million Euros to support the Commonwealth Action Plan on the Digital Divide. The special theme of the Executive Session – “Networking the Commonwealth for Development” – was significant and timely, he said, as India had developed considerable expertise in the field of information and communication technology, which could be used effectively to address the developmental challenges of the people. Shri Nath further mentioned that India would be hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in New Delhi and preparations had already commenced for the big event.