The Hindu (India)
By Sujay Mehdudia
June 30, 2009

It will engage countries to sort out issues for fair resolution

We are hopeful of concluding talks by 2010: Sharma

India committed to taking Doha Round to successful culmination

NEW DELHI: Terming “unfounded and baseless” reports of India compromising its stand on the next round of the World Trade Organisation talks, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma indicated that the “impasse” on the Doha Round could end soon.

He urged both the United States and China to restart the negotiations to ensure the emergence of an equitable and rule-based multilateral trading regime which would address the legitimate aspirations of developing countries.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Sharma said two draft reports on agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access), submitted in December 2008, could be the basic documents for resumption of the stalled talks. “This has found positive endorsement by all Ministers concerned during the Cairns Group meet in Bali, Indonesia. The economic challenges cannot be resolved by waiting and watching. We should not wait but act and take decisions which are correct.”

He said: “My emphasis has been to reenergise the process and not to reinvent. The Doha process is dedicated to development, meaning the structural flaws in the global trading system that make it unfavourable to the developing nations should be corrected giving better opportunity to the developing countries and enhancing multilateral convergence between developed and developing countries.”

The Doha Round got stalled due to non-convergence of views on some issues. “When protectionist barriers are coming up there is need to do meaningfully all that needs to be done and to deepen economic engagement between countries, particularly economics, where exports are shrinking leading to business closure and job losses. India is committed to taking the Doha Round process to a successful culmination.” For this, the process had to be restarted and the deadlock broken.

Mr. Sharma said he had met U.S. President Barack Obama’s top trade representative, Ron Kirk, in Bali and Washington, and would meet him again this week.

“We need to re-activate the whole process and send out a message of hope to the world. We are hopeful of concluding the talks by 2010. But let me assure you that India will not compromise on any of its core issues but would rather seek to engage countries to sit across and sort out issues for a fair resolution.”