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India Stands Firm
G-4 talks fail

New Delhi, June 21
WTO’s Doha Round suffered another setback as talks between four major players at Potsdam in Germany failed today because India refused to yield any ground on giving market for farm products to rich countries.

“Talks have failed as India refused to dilute its stand on agricultural market access,” commerce minister Kamal Nath said over phone from Germany.

The meeting of G-4 - India, Brazil, European Union (EU) and the USA - began on July 19 but talks broke mid-way as there was little movement in negotiations.

India insisted that developing countries should be given flexibility to address their livelihood and food security concerns through the mechanism of special products and special safeguard mechanism.

However, the developed world is seeking enlarged market for their agricultural produce without committing to cut their farm subsidies.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg quoted Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim as saying: “It was very clear at lunch time that it is useless to continue the discussion based on the numbers on the table.”

Global trade talks have collapsed after hopes were revived about the Doha Round being put on the track, following several meetings of various WTO groupings.

Trade analysts consider it as a big setback since the fast track authority of US President to negotiate international trade agreements is going to expire by month-end. The renewal of this authority by the US Congress may not now be easy as senators would like concrete results for any further movement on part of the USA.

Even as negotiators from developing and developed countries had been airing their broad intention to bridge gaps, wide differences persist on the specific amount of cuts in import tariffs and farm subsidies that the members are willing to make.

While India, Brazil and other developing nations want EU and the USA to cut and eliminate their large farm and export subsidies, the rich nations want them to reduce import duties and open markets for selling farm and manufactured goods.

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