G-20 meeting on Doha round from Nov 15

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, November 5: | Updated: Nov 7 2007, 00:59am hrs
Trade minister from the developing countries represented in the group G 20 is scheduled to meet in Geneva around November 15 to renew efforts toward closing the gap in the much-delayed Doha round of WTO negotiations. G-20 includes countries like India, Brazil, South Africa and China.

"Ministers from G-20 will meet in Geneva on around November 15 and we expect a landing zone for the successful completion of the Doha Round," the deputy director-general of the World Trade Organisation, Harsha Vardhan Singh said at a round-table discussion organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in New Delhi on Monday.

The prospect of a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) looked very bright with member countries engaging in serious negotiations in the last couple of months, he said and added that the next two months would be very crucial.

Singh said in the wake of the ensuing US Presidential elections, WTO members were under a lot of pressure to complete at least the modalities for concluding the round by end of this year or early next year.

He said that all concerns of the developing countries were being taken care of by the negotiators and modalities would soon be worked out. Modalities are basic and broad outlines agreed to by the members to give and seek market access by reducing the duties in line with the WTO mandate for opening world trade.

Singh further said after modalities are worked out scheduling of priorities would take place for moving the negotiations further.

"Everybody is showing flexibility and is engaging. The members are hoping to meet the deadline and are making efforts in a serious way. While process of convergence is not easy, one can see some forward movement," he said.

Singh informed that the chairs of agriculture and non-agriculture market access (NAMA) committees may come out with revised texts on basis of some agreed consensus.

The Indian commerce minister Kamal Nath had said at the Fortune Summit last week: "We are at the last mile. Where we are today, it is closer than ever before to closing the Doha Round. In the next two months, I hope we will be able to find some convergence in it."

Singh said that while the text on agriculture did not see much resistance from the members, the draft on industrial products was rejected by over 100 nations.

India had described the farm text as "a good basis for negotiations" but rejected the non-agricultural market access draft.

"Apart from agriculture and NAMA, there can be some convergence in rules, trade facilitation and development," Singh said.