Doha ministerial likely by later May: WTO official

April 21st, 2008 - 6:56 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Ministers of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) member-countries are likely to meet by the end of next month in Geneva to seek solutions and to help conclude the global trade talks, a senior WTO official said here Monday. “A ministerial meet can be expected by the later part of May,” said Harsha Vardhan Singh, deputy director general of WTO, here at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“There appears to be a good chance of reaching some kind of a conclusion at the political level … The momentum is positive. However, the process of negotiation takes time. They require clarity at all levels and people need to see that achieve the objectives,” he added.

The 151 member-countries of the WTO launched a new round of negotiations in Doha in Qatar in 2001 to agree upon a multilateral rule-based trading system that seeks to reduce agricultural subsidies and trade barriers.

Since then, the talks have failed to reach an agreement as India and other developing countries demand that rich nations such as the US and EU states reduce their farm subsidies and throw open their agricultural markets by significantly cutting tariffs.

On the other side, developed countries want developing countries to drastically reduce tariffs on their industrial produce and service liberalisation.

Last week, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath also expressed optimism over the upcoming ministerial. He is expected to meet the US trade representative Susan Schwab May 8.

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