WTO Draft: India Presses For Improvements

New Delhi, July 28 | Updated: Jul 29 2004, 06:11am hrs
India on Wednesday pressed for improvements in the draft of the proposed WTO framework agreement and warned that the text would not be acceptable if its concerns in agriculture were not addressed.

In his interactions with G-20 and NG-5 in Geneva, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath sought flexibility in domestic policy in agriculture in order to address legitimate concerns in products of developing countries.

The NG-5 meeting was attended by Celso Amorim, foreign minister of Brazil, EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy and US trade representative Robert Zoellick.

With the revised draft on the anvil for submission at the WTO general council on July 30, Mr Nath stressed on flexibilities for special products in matter of tariff reductions, which were of concern to the Indian farmers.

He said such products should be identified on the basis of self selection, an official release said here.

Cautioning against any lowering of the de minimis in domestic support for developing countries as it could be a deal breaker for many of them, he emphasised on the need for disciplines and parameter for the modified blue box being sought by some developed countries to discourage box shifting.

Subsidies which are permissible and used for limiting production by countries are put in blue box category.

This would ensure desired reduction in the levels of trade distorting domestic agricultural subsidies given by developed countries which adversely impacted on farmers of developing nations like India.