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WTO's top post: Who will India support?

Last updated on: January 24, 2013 18:56 IST

India on Thursday said it will support a candidate from a developing country for the top post of the the World Trade Organization (WTO) that is to be decided by the end of May.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who is in Davos for the annual WEF meeting, has met four contenders from Costa Rica, Mexico, New Zealand and Indonesia here.

"Sharma welcomed their candidature and expressed India’s stand regarding need for a Director General who is from the developing country and is committed to the development dimension of WTO negotiations," the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

There are nine candidates in the race for the WTO Director General's post that falls vacant on August 31 when Pascal Lamy is due to step down.

Costa Rica's Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez, Mexican Economy Minister Hermino Blanco Mendoza, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser and Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu met Sharma and have sought India's support for the post, it said.

Meanwhile, in a session, Sharma said that the delay in conclusion of the Doha Round is impacting the global economy.

"This the only round of trade talks that is focused on developmental agenda and it has taken the longest. The delay is definitely impacting or injuring the global economy," he said.

Differences between rich and developing nations have been a stumbling block in the conclusion of the talks, which were started in 2001. India and other developing nations are defending their agricultural markets to protect millions of subsistence farmers from easy imports that may result from the multilateral agreement.

"We will meaningfully engage with the US on this. The countries that are negotiating need to work on this," he said.

Indonesian Trade Minister Wirjawan said: "The Doha Round has some oxygen as long as we stick to focus on low-hanging fruits, and India will play a big part in making the meeting in Bali a big success".

Barun Jha in Davos
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