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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Tariff reduction formula suits US, EU: India

BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | August 28, 2003 10:54 IST

India has criticised the World Trade Organisation for deviating from the Doha mandate on agricultural negotiations and not accommodating the concerns of developing countries on reduction of subsides.

It also criticised the multilateral body for circulating draft modalities for talks on Singapore issues though there was no consensus on their inclusion.

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"If domestic support is not reduced and export subsidies are not eliminated, the distortions in agricultural trade cannot be removed. Unfortunately, the draft ministerial text does not provide the necessary levels of comfort so that developing countries are in a position to make major contributions on market access," India said in its statement at the WTO General Council on Tuesday.

India's ambassador to the WTO, K M Chandrasekhar, and additional secretary in the commerce ministry S N Menon, who attended the meeting, also criticised the WTO for incorporating the tariff reduction formula put forward by the United States and the European Union.

"The framework for tariff reduction worked out by the European Commission and the US are tailor-made to suit their tariff structure and enable them to make minimal contributions to market access while placing inordinately high burden on many developing countries," India said.

The second draft ministerial text for the Cancun ministerial next month has been criticised by a majority of the WTO members, as it does not accommodate the concerns expressed by most of them.

On non-agricultural market access, India expressed its concern about a non-linear tariff formula and asked the modalities for negotiations to accommodate voluntary duty removal by member countries.

India said it was premature for the WTO to circulate draft modalities for negotiating on the Singapore issues, which comprise investment, competition policy, trade facilitation and transparency in government procurement.

"We consider that the annexure to the draft declaration, which reflect only the positions of the EU and Japan, will prejudice the position of the members holding a different view at Cancun," the statement said. India along with a group of countries is seeking more clarifications.

India also asked the WTO membership, particularly developed countries, to address the concerns of developing countries relating to implementation issues and special and differential treatment.

"We have no doubt that there will be firm determination on the part of developing countries to ensure that the development dimension is not cast aside in the process of negotiation," the statement added.

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