MARAN KEEPS A HECTIC SCHEDULE AT DOHA
Date : 09 Nov 2001
Location : New Delhi
On arrival at Doha, as the Head of the Indian delegation to the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mr. Murasoli Maran, initiated wide-ranging consultations with representatives of both the developing and developed countries before the inaugural of the Doha Ministerial Conference slated for later this evening. Mr. Maran has held meetings so far with Trade Ministers of Brazil, Singapore, Pakistan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Cuba and the 12 member group of Like Minded countries which includes Malaysia. He is also scheduled to meet the Ministers of the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, France and several other countries over the next two days.
These bilateral consultations focussed on India’s concerns on some of the contentious issues which are being proposed for negotiations in the WTO by some countries. Mr. Maran went into great details to explain to his counterparts the development implications of new trade issues such as Investment, Competition Policy, Trade facilitation and Transparency in Government Procurement (collectively known as the "Singapore issues"). During these consultations, Mr. Maran has also focussed a great deal on issues regarding the affordability and availability of medicines with reference to the TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement. Upfront, Mr. Maran also made it clear that any further negotiations in Agriculture must take into account the special and differential treatment to developing countries, in particular the large agrarian economies like India and emphasised our food security and rural livelihood concerns.
Mr. Maran has also met Mr. Mike Moore, Director General-WTO and the Chairman of the Doha Conference, Mr. Yousef Hussain Kamal, the Qatari Minister of Finance, Economy and Trade regarding the organisation of the Ministerial Conference and impressed upon them the need for transparency in deliberations with a view to building confidence among the developing countries which was crucial for the success of the Doha Ministerial Conference. He also pointed out that the text of the revised Draft Ministerial Declaration forwarded by the Chairman of the General Council and the DG - WTO did not reflect the views and expressions of the developing country members like India and the lack of consensus on several issues.