NO DILUTION OF DOHA AGENDA, SAYS JAITLEY
REITERATES INDIA’S CONCERNS ON MARKET ACCESS ISSUES
Date : 15 Feb 2003
Location : New Delhi
Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice, has made it clear that India will not agree to any dilution of the Doha development agenda. "India is not prepared to accept any dilution of the Doha development agenda", Shri Jaitley said in an informal chat with reporters in Tokyo last night.
Summing up India’s approach on various WTO related issues being discussed at the Informal Meeting of WTO Ministers in Tokyo, Shri Jaitley said: "India’s concern in the first instance is that the development agenda set at the Doha Ministerial Conference of the WTO must be implemented within the given time-frame. Indefinite delay in the settlement of Special and Differential Treatment issues, the TRIPS and Public Health issues and Implementation issues caused serious concern in the minds of the developing world. The legitimacy of a multilateral decision making process depends on its ability to stick to the deadlines. In this case, the deadlines have been breached. The sooner these issues are settled, the better it is. India, in any case, is not prepared for any dilution of the Doha Development Agenda. Also uppermost in our concerns is the issue of market access being raised by some of the developed countries. We are willing to be proactive in market access issues in relation to mode 4 in the area of services which deals with movement of natural persons as service providers. However, we have serious concerns with regard to market access in Agriculture and non-agricultural products. In Agriculture, we deal with 650 million people in India whose livelihood depends on agriculture. Even without the market access, we are unable to get the best remunerative prices. This has direct impact on rural economy and poverty elimination in India. It is both a social and economic issue for us. We cannot put them (our farmers) in an onerous situation where they have to compete with those who sell highly or partly subsidised agricultural products. Even with regard to non-agricultural products where India is gradually bringing down it tariffs, we cannot do so suddenly. The government has already announced last year a gradual reduction of tariffs. We must remember that, besides protecting several sectors like the small-scale sector, customs duty forms substantial part of the present government revenues. At present, there is no immediate substitute for the same."