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Home > Business > PTI > Report

EU has lost moral ground on investment: Jaitley

September 20, 2003 17:37 IST

India on Saturday said European Union has lost 'moral ground' to press for an investment deal and competition policy at WTO after the legitimacy for raising these issues was 'dented' substantially at Cancun.

"In the course of our engagement (at Cancun Ministerial), EU wavered on Singapore issues. The legitimacy of two important Singapore issues - investment and competition has been substantially dented for future," Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Jaitley said.

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Summing up the outcome of Cancun meeting, Jaitley told reporters that several positives had emerged there and one of them was change in equilibrium with developing and least developed countries being able to assert their point.

Criticising the developed countries for the collapse of Ministerial, Jaitley said: "We believe the final draft could not be agreed upon because the Draft Declaration was heavily loaded against developing countries."

There was reluctance on the part of developed countries to reduce trade-distorting subsidies, he said, adding, "the draft was completely contrary to the mood of conference and was at variance to the views of the developing nations."

"Obviously such a draft could not inspire any confidence in vast majority of the members on acceptability," Jaitley added.

Elaborating on the positive aspects, Jaitley said: "We actively engaged in the negotiations and brought the concerns of the developing countries at the centrestage of trade talks."

The two coalitions of developing countries on agriculture (G-21) and Singapore issues (G-16) were active, succeeding in collectively protecting their interests and developed countries would now find it difficult to ignore these concerns if Doha Work Programme has to make any meaningful progress.

The coalition has brought about a change in the overall balance and equilibrium in WTO.

He said India never wanted the talks to end in a deadlock, all it wanted was a positive document that addressed the concerns of developing countries which formed a majority.

Describing Cancun as a turning point, Jaitley said it had provided directional change to WTO by bringing into fore the need to correct trade-distorting subsidies.

Deploring the attitude of developed nations, Jaitley cited the example of the cotton-growing countries of Africa who had been hit by the huge subsidies in the western world.

He said 25,000 farmers were being provided $3.75 billion of subsidies a day and it was regrettable that instead of agreeing to bring down subsidies the poor African nations were told not to grow cotton and diversify.

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Sub: EU has lost moral ground

25,000 Farmers? Where are dirt farmers in the affluent west? They are really wealthy corporations and those who toil on farms are mostly third world ...

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