No Compromise On Agriculture: Nath At WTO

New Delhi, July 27 | Updated: Jul 28 2004, 05:37am hrs
India has told the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it will not compromise on agriculture issues in the on-going multilateral negotiations as it will affect the livelihood of millions of farmers in the country.

In a meeting with WTO director general Supachai Panitchpakdi a day before the launch of the crucial WTO general council meeting in Geneva, Indias commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath pointed out developed countries must understand that in agriculture India was battling not so much for trade as for subsistence. We cannot compromise on subsistence, risking in the process social and economic upheavals, he said.

According to an official release, Mr Nath fraised that an iniquitous framework would not be acceptable to India adding that a no framework agreement would be better than a bad framework agreement.

The 3-day GC meet began in Geneva on Tuesday. Members are expected to thrash out a framework agreement to re-start the stalled WTO negotiations which reached a deadlock at the 5th WTO ministerial meet in Cancun, Mexico, last September. Since agriculture was the major reason behind the deadlock, the framework can be reached only if developed and developing countries can arrive at some sort of a consensus on the issue.