India WTO team huddle to finetune future strategy

New Delhi, Jan 1 | Updated: Jan 2 2006, 05:30am hrs
Following a short break after the conclusion of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meet in Hong Kong, Indias negotiating team will meet in the first week of the new year to firm up its future negotiating strategy.

Officials from both Geneva and New Delhi will meet in the Capital to discuss how to move forward in the core areas of agriculture, goods and services.

Sources said that Indias approach in the three areas is more or less decided and only incremental work needs to be done. What is important now is to decide what posture India should adopt in future negotiations to get the best deal possible.

Negotiating posture is very important in such talks and the developed countries are very good at it. We, too, have to be proactive in order to ensure a good deal, an official said.

The next five months are going to be crucial for the trade talks, as deadlines have been set for firming up modalities in both agriculture and non-agriculture market access (Nama) by April-end. The Hong Kong declaration has also asked members to submit the steps that they are going to take based on the modalities that are finalised.

The modalities include deciding on the formulae for reduction of tariffs in both agriculture and industrial products and finalising the special & differential treatment for developing countries in both areas.

India also has to do a lot of work in the area of services as it is interested in participating in the plurilateral discussions that only a sfelect group of members will hold. Officials said that the country has to look at the rules that will be set for such discussions in order to ensure that it does not get a raw deal.