WTO Doha round negotiations need to conclude first: India

New Delhi : With the World Trade Organisation’s ministerial talks beginning in Nairobi next week, India on Thursday clarified that it wants the conclusion of the Doha Development Round (DDA) before beginning a new round of negotiations.

“We can’t be thrusting the Doha agenda aside and say that let us look at new issues,” Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia told media persons here.

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Any new issue that a country may want to discuss can be taken up after the Doha agenda is satisfactorily resolved, she said.

“We have DDA on the table. Lets achieve outcomes there. We don’t want DDA to be dispensed with. We hope there is political will from all member countries. Our intention is not to delay anything,” she added.

Speaking about the new issues such as ecommerce, labour and environment, that developed countries want to include in the WTO negotiations, the commerce secretary said: “There are differing interests in the DDA framework, but enough space to find consensus.”

Teotia also said India would strongly demand a special safeguard measure to protect farmers against import surges and price fluctuations as dismantling of farm subsidies by rich countries has been very slow.

Special safeguards were already available to several developed country members of the WTO, and it is only fair that all developing countries have access to such protection, she added.

The WTO ministerial to deliberate on taking forward negotiations on the Doha development round will meet in Nairobi during December 15-18.