CPI-M tells government not to capitulate at WTO talks

July 28th, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist Monday said the Manmohan Singh government should not “compromise” India’s stand at the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Geneva and “capitulate to US pressure”, which they warned would amount to “betrayal of national interest”. “The UPA (the ruling United Progressive Alliance) should not compromise India’s stand at the WTO talks in Geneva. Capitulation to US pressure would amount to another betrayal of national interest,” the CPI-M politburo said in a statement here.

The Left party, which withdrew crucial support to Prime Minister Singh’s government July 9 over the Indo-US nuclear deal, said “the US is exerting pressure upon India to fall in line and facilitate the adoption of an iniquitous agreement”.

They cited the calls made by US president George W. Bush to Prime Minister Singh over the Doha Development Round - the seven-year-long ongoing world trade talks that seeks to liberalise trade by reducing import tariffs and trade distorting subsidies.

Emerging economies such as Brazil and India have criticised the US and the European Union (EU) for failing to offer big enough cuts in subsidies and import tariffs that make it harder to compete with American and European farmers.

The CPI-M said “efforts are on by the developed countries led by the US to force an agreement in the WTO talks in Geneva, which will be inimical to the interests of the developing countries”.

It said the latest draft “reflects glaring inequities in agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access)”, and added: “While the developed countries like the US and EU would be able to retain much of their huge subsidies, the developing countries would be forced to undertake steep cuts in agricultural and industrial tariffs.”

The Left outfit, which has maintained a steadfast opposition to the ongoing WTO negotiations, said: “The provisions for protecting developing countries’ agriculture through designation of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism have been diluted to such an extent that they are rendered meaningless.”

“Such an outcome would make a mockery of the ‘development’ dimension of the Doha round,” it added.

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