Be flexible on farm sops: Lamy

New Delhi, Jan 19 | Updated: Jan 20 2007, 05:30am hrs
WTO Director General Pascal Lamy on Friday asked India to be flexible on concessions to farm sector and help resume the stalled Doha talks.

India, however, said it was in favour of resuming talks, but could not compromise on the sensitive issue of agriculture, which was linked to the livelihood of 650 million people in the country.

Earlier in the day, Lamy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and later had a luncheon meeting with commerce minister Kamal Nath and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.

He said the US and the EU were exploring the possibility of making new offers, and therefore, India should also do the same.

My understanding is that the US and the EU have started testing new positions. Something is cooking but it is not at the point of being served. It also needs Indian spices, he said.

Apart from India, Brazil, the US and the EU, other countries like Japan and Australia have to contribute to it, he added. Lamy said the developed and the developing countries would have to go in for tariff cuts. He, however, added greater responsibility would be on the rich nations, as even after huge concessions they would have flexibility.

Future Talks

India said it was in favour of resuming talks, but could not compromise on the sensitive issue of agricultue which was linked to the livelihood of 650 million people
Lamy said India had a good showing in agriculture, particularly in sugar, cotton, rice, wheat, horticulture and floriculture produce
Nath said he would take part in the meeting at Davos next week, where ministers from 30 countries are expected to discuss ways to prevent the collapse of Doha talk

Lamy said India had a good showing in agriculture, particularly in sugar, cotton, rice, wheat, horticulture and floriculture produce, and would now be able to enter new markets abroad.

Exploiting these opportunities would result in increasing the Indian farmers income, he said.

Meanwhile, Nath said he would take part in the meeting at Davos next week, where ministers from 30 countries are expected to discuss ways to prevent the collapse of Doha talks.

The Doha round in Geneva broke down in July 2006, as key members, including the US, remained firm on their positions on farm subsidies.