M A I N   N E W S

WTO pact to boost farm exports
Kamal Nath defends accord 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
Brushing aside the criticism of the agreement reached at the WTO Ministerial meeting at Hong Kong that concluded yesterday, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath today said the agreement would boost India’s farm and manufacturing exports in the global market.

It would address the concerns of both agriculture and industrial sectors, he added.

“The agreement fully secures the concerns of our farmers. It ensures that no subsidy-ridden farm products are exported to India. The phasing out of export subsidies by developed countries would also give Indian farmers a chance to compete in the world market,” he said on his arrival here from Hong Kong.

According to the declaration, developed countries will have to eliminate export subsidies by 2013 while reducing these substantially by 2010.

He said the success was the result of the Indian strategy of forming a coalition of developing countries (G-110) at the meeting.

“The agreement protects domestic farmers against surge in imports through the provisions of Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SPM) that have been included in the declaration,” he said.

Under SPs, India and other developing countries would not have to cut tariffs on a specific number of products, while SSM incorporates both price and volume triggers to check a surge in cheap imports.

Meanwhile, NGOs and farmer organisations that led protest at Hong Kong claimed India had voted in favour of the developed countries.

African countries have reportedly reacted with dismay to a compromise deal at WTO on global trade, saying the world’s poorest continent would pay the price for the intransigence of rich nations.

“The developed countries once again failed to extend a hand of solidarity to the poor,” South Africa’s powerful COSATU Labour Federation said in a statement. It termed Sunday’s last-minute WTO agreement in Hong Kong as “abysmal failure”.

The Hong Kong deal included a European Union agreement to end export subsidies by 2013 and a US promise to cut some payments to cotton producers, which African farmers say have locked them out of the global market.

But it fell short of broader African demand for access to Western markets and kept pressure on developing countries to open their service sectors to foreign competitors, a move many feared could strangle their own struggling service companies.

Despite some progress on agricultural issues, the tough negotiations left many African analysts wondering if the developed countries would ever agree to give the globe’s poorest citizens a place at the economic table.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |