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|April 27, 1998||
India will present its case before WTO with force, says Joshi
Union Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi says the Government of India has decided to place its viewpoint before the World Trade Organisation more forcefully, and rejected demands made by the United States that India should import some sensitive items or that it should lift within five years the prohibitory steps taken to restrict import of some other items.
Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad on Monday, he said under the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, those countries facing foreign exchange problems could restrict imports, with the International Monetary Fund deciding whether a country had a problem in balance of payments. The steps taken by India were in keeping with these criteria and in its national interest.
Dr Joshi said although India wanted to phase out restrictions on imports in nine years, it agreed to the demand of the European Union to do so in six years. However, the US's demand to reduce it further to five years had been rejected.
The HRD minister said a national policy should be evolved to protect India's interests, and the country should face these situations in a united manner and through consensus. The government would try to evolve such consensus during next month's Budget session of Parliament, he said.
Similarly, Dr Joshi pointed out, India should also evolve a consensus on patents law. The industry ministry had already formed a committee for the purpose. He regretted that attempts were being made to raise new issues, and some countries wanted to bring such issues into the GATT through the backdoor. Human rights, culture and environment were among such issues which were being used for financial and trade purposes, he pointed out.
Replying to a question, Dr Joshi said the poor nations should unite and evolve a joint strategy to guard their national economic interests vis-a-vis the rich nations. ''We should be cautious and ensure that Indian economy does not go the South-East Asian nations's way," he said.
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