Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has categorically stated that outcome of the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the collective responsibility of the entire WTO membership, and a fair, balanced result would be possible only if the genuine concerns of developing countries including India are satisfactorily addressed
The Minister underlined this point at a series of bilateral meetings he had with several of his counterparts in Bali today
He had meetings with Bireme Abderahim, Minister of Trade of Chad; Mike Bimha, Minister of Trade of Zimbabwe; Johann Schneider-Ammann, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER); Shanker Prasad Koirala, Minister of Finance, Industry and Commerce, and Supplies of Nepal; Karel de Gucht, Trade Commisioner of the European Union (EU) and Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China
Sharma said ensuring food security for large populations was a common concern shared by developing countries including India and China as WTO rules in the area of agricultural support had become dated and did not take into account rising prices
At a luncheon meeting with the India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA), Sharma reiterated India’s concerns, especially the issue of food security.
Brazil and South Africa conveyed agreement with India’s position and wanted to know how best these could best be accommodated in the Bali package.
Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa and Luiz Alberto F. Machado, Minister of External Relations of Brazil were participated in the meeting
Sharma said the issue to be addressed was not just food security, but inadequacies in the whole draft Bali proposals – whether on export competition; tariff rate quota (TRQ) administration; or trade facilitation, only lip service is paid to interests of developing countries in proposed texts which are devoid of substance, and consist largely of best endeavor provisions
He reiterated India’s commitment to the strengthening and preservation of the multilateral trading system and take forward its agreed negotiating mandate.