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India opposes inclusion of Singapore issues in the WTO agenda

June 23, 2003 17:49 IST

Stoutly opposing the move to expand the World Trade Oorganisation agenda to include new issues like trade, investment and competition, India on Monday cautioned against the pitfalls of including the Singapore issues in the work programme without a full study on their implications on the developing countries.

The structure and content of Singapore issues was still unclear, Commerce and Industry Minsiter Arun Jaitley said, expressing India's reservation about entering into any negotiations on these issues without full understanding of the nature and structure of the agreement.

The Singapore issues comprise multilateral negotiations on trade and investment, competition policy, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation.

Jaitely, in his speech read out by S N Menon, additional secretary in the commerce ministry at the WTO Mini-Ministerial at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt, reiterated that the Singapore issues could be taken up for negotiations only if the modalities of discussing these issues were evolved through explicit consensus on them, to be taken up after Cancun.

"We have engaged actively in the process of consultation with the three working groups constituted for the purpose. However, the position is that the structure and content of the Singapore issues is still unclear," he said.

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