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India scores; WTO to look into G-21 proposals
K R Sudhaman in Cancun | September 11, 2003 15:29 IST
In a major victory for India and other developing countries, Chairman of WTO Ministerial, Mexican Foreign Minister Louis Ernesto Derbez, has agreed to look into all proposals on agriculture including that of the G-21 countries before formulating the final draft.
An instruction to this effect was given by Derbez to Singapore Trade Minister George Yeu Yong-Bon, who was appointed as a facilitator for agriculture.
A facilitator is a kind of a sub-committee, which would go into various aspects before formulating the revised draft that would be tabled at the ministerial.
Debrez agreed to look into the G-21 proposals after India and several other members of the group met him on Wednesday to voice their protest against the draft ministerial text circulated to the members. The text did not reflect the G-21 proposal on agriculture that was sent to the WTO general council as a counter to the pro-developed EU-US framework.
Asked about the evolving situation at the WTO ministerial, Derbez told reporters that the facilitator on agriculture has been asked to factor-in all positions on agriculture including that of G-21 before finalising the draft on Friday.
Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that though the G-21 framework was skeletal, its approach was different from the EU-US proposal and the draft Ministerial text and, hence, the final draft must reflect it with regard to elimination of domestic support and export subsidies in farm as it was being considered as a "fair position" on agriculture.
Jaitley had earlier in his address to the Ministerial criticised the lack of internal transparency as well as reduced participation of developing countries in the decision making process in the WTO.
"We should not let the developing countries perceive the decision-making process of the multilateral trading system to be discriminatory, opaque and unresponsive to their needs," he said adding, "we look forward to this ministerial conference moving towards more inclusive decision-making process."There is also a need for prescribing clear and fair guidelines for conducting the preparatory process of Ministerial conferences, he said apparently referring to the draft ministerial text, which has ignored the proposals made by a large number of members including India, Brazil and China, which accounted for 60 per cent of the world population.
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