India hopes for new talks to break WTO deadlock

NEW DELHI - India’s trade minister said Sunday he hoped for new talks by the end of July to break an impasse in World Trade Organisation negotiations, which collapsed in Geneva on the weekend.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 2 Jul 2006, 6:25 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 2:55 PM

“I hope that there is another meeting by the end of this month,” Kamal Nath told reporters in New Delhi Sunday.

The latest round of negotiations in Geneva for a global deal on trade ended in failure at the weekend due to a standoff between developed and developing countries over the issue of cuts in agricultural subsidies.

Nath returned to New Delhi Sunday, two days ahead of schedule, saying there was no “negotiating space.”

A statement by more than 100 developed countries at the WTO talks underlined the need for progress on eliminating trade-distorting subsidies for agriculture in rich nations “that threaten the lives of millions of poor farmers.”

Representatives of developing nations also expressed concern over objections raised by the United States to measures aimed at granting some poor countries the right to protect special products or crucial sectors of their economies.

Washington’s refusal to compromise on an offer to lift trade barriers was seen as a key reason for the collapse of the Geneva talks.

“I will not beat about the bush,” World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy told delegates Saturday as he officially announced the demise of the Geneva talks. “We are now in a crisis.”

On Sunday, Nath said India could not be part of any agreement that did not address “the development concerns of developing countries.”

“Our stand has been endorsed by 110 developing countries who also feel that developed countries should give something,” he said.

However, he said that the weekend impasse at Geneva might provide a “period of reflection” for developed countries to strenghthen the global trading system.

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